Lawrence Parnell’s story

Lawrence worked at UCEM from 1987 to 2014 as the External Course Director for the RICS Diploma in Project Management. Lawrence is an Honorary Fellow of UCEM.

Tell us about your time at UCEM 

A University education was never a personal, family or schooling (Secondary Modern) expectation. However, I have my parents (my father being a solicitor’s clerk) to thank for steering me in the direction of a surveying career; this began immediately on leaving school at age seventeen, at Hillier Parker May & Rowden in Grosvenor Street, London. Four GCE O Levels and one A Level were sufficient to permit study for the examinations of the Chartered Auctioneers and Estate Agents Institute, and it was the Correspondence Course of the College of Estate Management that provided the backbone to my studies, and the qualification achieved three years later (1967).

Lawrence’s career continued to develop, and he ended up returning to UCEM for another qualification!

In the 1970’s my career moved towards commercial development, and then specifically Project Management. The College re-entered my life when, in 1982, The RICS Diploma in Project Management was announced, a two-year distance learning course administered by the College. I joined the first cohort which commenced study in September that year. The distance learning format dovetailed with a busy business life (I was Project Management Director of Taylor Woodrow Property Company, 1979-2006) and the responsibility of a young family. The Diploma course, and the interaction with other students at weekend workshops, provided a fresh window into a young specialism, and the Diploma (a post-graduate equivalent) a deserved credibility to Project Management in the surveying profession.

The Diploma qualification led, in 1987, to the formation of the RICS Project Management Association and a third phase in my association with the College. Via an approach from the College to the Association I was invited to become the External Course Director for the Diploma (1987-2014). Thus came the opportunity to feed industry practice into the study material to help maintain the Diploma’s status as the leading Project Management qualification for the surveying profession. Such was its

relevance that the Diploma attracted students through Europe, Africa and Asia, leading to the opening of a second base, in Hong Kong.

Suffice to say therefore that UCEM has had a material and positive influence upon all stages of my career and it has been rewarding that in the latter years UCEM has provided me the opportunity to contribute to those following on.