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Marco Newell | Project Management Student Testimonial

We catch up with Learning People student Marco Newell who changed career from Station Manager to Project Professional with a mix of professional certifications and transferable skills…



Tell us why you enquired with Learning People Marco Newell

About a year ago I was a station manager for one of the largest railway stations in the UK, and it felt like I was lacking certain skills and couldn’t go any further up the career ladder with them. So we put together some planned career development to start a few projects, which meant looking around the station and finding problems that needed to be addressed.

So, I found a few issues and my manager said, we’ll start a project, see if you can get a business plan together and if we can get support and funding. But I’d not been involved in projects before, and no one ever showed me how to start, run, or complete one.

I enjoyed the challenge, and it was a good learning curve – and I did complete them all, but there were definitely a few things that I could have done to improve them.

So, I asked my company about getting me on to some training, but it didn’t seem to be happening, so despite it being the pandemic, I made a decision, cut the cord and resigned.

I just thought, you know what, life is really short, and if you feel you’ve been held back, or you want to do something different, you need to just do it. So, I resigned and did a couple of delivery driver’s jobs so I could take time out to study.

I contacted five learning providers and Learning People were the first to get in touch. The other four took around a week to get back to me.


Were there any specific skills you were looking to gain or develop by enrolling with Learning People?

Some of the project managers I spoke to had PRINCE2 which at the time I knew nothing about. So, I started to do some research and found that there were lots of different project management certifications, which to be honest felt like a bit of a minefield.


Was there a particular reason you chose to enrol with Learning People, and did you speak to any other educators or training providers?

When I spoke to Alex, he was very sincere and asked lots of questions about my career and previous experience and what I wanted to achieve. He also told me what I should focus on and what I shouldn’t and wasn’t just trying to sell me everything that was available.

The consultation was a genuine assessment of my skills – he didn’t talk over me, instead he listened.


Tell us about your experience of learning online using our system

I was a little bit daunted at first, but when I started using the platform it was easy to navigate around. I actually enjoyed using it, I actually felt confident.



Tell us about your experience of working with our Career Services team

My Career Consultant Alex was great. He got me through the door. So, I have to thank him for that. Then the Career Services consultant I was allocated to was Rachel Duggan. Which I was extremely happy about. She was passionate, creative, and really determined for me to be successful. She genuinely cared about me doing well. And it was at that point of working with Rachel that I realised I had chosen the right company to enrol with.

She went above and beyond, helping me with my CV, and my interview technique. She tested me, challenged me, and pushed me. She was my inspiration and I firmly believe that the job that I landed was a massive contributing factor due to her help.

She trained me, helped me, and nurtured me through interview techniques and tested me out and gave me ideas of what I should do and say and even how to sit. And I got the job after my second interview – and it’s a massive job.


Tell us about your new job

I’m part of the product delivery, so I’m part of the technical assurance team, which self-assures the final work package products as completed and fit for purposes. And the project I’m working on is one of the biggest projects in Europe – the HS2, the biggest rail investment ever made in the UK, with over 250 miles of new high-speed line.

So, a typical work package could be to build a tunnel between the two destinations for high speed trains to travel through. So once the product is completed, my job is to check the work package and make sure that everything said, done, and completed is actually correct.

So, it’s a fascinating project and I’m really happy to be working on it because I’m going to be learning all the time.


What has been the best part of your Learning People experience?

There’s been a few. Passing my exam made me really happy. Telling Rachel and Alex that I landed a job was great because I was happy for them too as they were a big part of my development and getting to where I am now.


How has your life changed from enrolling to right now?

I would say that my life has really changed, and I suppose it’s changed for a few reasons. But one of them is that I made a gamble.

You’ve got to remember, I was in my industry for ten years, and that’s all I knew. And I literally said to that industry, here’s the key to my office. I’m leaving, and I’m going to try another industry, something I don’t have all the experience, knowledge, or qualifications in.

It’s had a massive impact on my life, I’ve learned new skills, and broadened my knowledge which has had a very positive impact.

It’s not been a walk in the park, I’ve had to work at it – but it’s been worth it.


What advice would you give to somebody who is thinking about enrolling with Learning People?

I’d probably say a few things. The first thing is if you truly want to go for it, then don’t stop yourself and don’t ask or expect your family, friends, or employer to make the decision for you.

If you truly want something, you just need to go for it. And if something is holding you back, you’ve got to cut the cord. Simple as that. Nobody should stop you from moving forward and upwards.

In terms of the cost, it’s like work in investment. I think of it as investing in yourself. And I think the best investment is investing yourself.