Adrian Tolliday has just finished working on the Bu Tinah Dome project for Abu Dhabi Environment agency. Inside the 16 metre high dome, life on Bu Tinah Island, a protected island 130km west of Abu Dhabi on which live a variety of species facing extinction, is recreated. It is hoped the dome, which includes a mangrove nursery and a live marine turtle exhibit, will boost public support for and public awareness of Bu Tinah Island, a finalist in the global New Seven Wonders of Nature poll.
Mr Tolliday project managed the building of the live marine turtle exhibit and has now been asked to run the Dubai Aquarium project at Dubai Mall. His ultimate goal is to run the build of the best aquarium in the world.
If you had asked him what his goal was before he took the Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate that led to him securing the contracts in the Middle East, he would probably have said: "To find a job." Prior to taking the online course with The Learning People, Mr Tolliday, from Northern Ireland was unemployed for six months.
"The course took four months of online home study, I took the exam in July, and it cost around £1000", he said.
"It was a tremendous course, very detailed, easy to follow, with great study notes and exam questions.
"You can study at leisure and at a time to suit, and it also allows you to relate the modules to projects and work you have been involved in, making the study applicable."
While Adrian is first to admit that the course alone will not transform students into great PMs, it does teach an internationally recognised way to approach and deal with projects - a skill much sought-after by prospective employers abroad.
He said: "To start with you must have the inherent ability to be a PM, and field experience is a pre-requisite for the course.
"But if you have these things then you will benefit from a course that teaches you how to structure your work appropriately and in a way that is internationally recognised by other PMs.
"This means that everyone understands the process and is on the same wave length and ensures that terminology is the same across the board.
"Most importantly it has boosted my confidence, made me feel more professional and increased my chances of finding work."
As well as offering the PMP certificate, The Learning People also teach the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) which students with no prior PM experience can take and then go on to command a salary up to £35,000 per annum.
As with the PMP certificate, students can decide between full-time or part-time online learning and rely on 24/7 support from tutors.
Tom Bradshaw from Portsmouth previously worked in sales before he took a PMI Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM).
He managed to complete the online course within a month, working on it full-time and although he has yet to secure a job, he now believes he has a much better chance with the new qualification on his cv.
He said: "The course has given me a framework to work with on any project and I am now being considered for junior project and events roles as well as being considered much more seriously for other unrelated management roles.
Mike Hagan has 15 years project management experience and was looking for a new contract when he decided to take the PMP certificate to "make good use of my time and enhance my cv."
He said: "Before doing the course i thought it was just a matter of getting a tick in the box, but having done it I would say it has enhanced my skills as a project manager, made me more marketable and taught me new things such as 'earned value analysis'.
"And when recruiters look and all things are equal between candidates but one has the PMP certificate, the one with the PMP certificate will come out on tops."