Project and Program Administrator

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects Openings 5 years to November 2019: > 50,000
Salary Range Median weekly earnings: $1301 to $1700 to Source: Australian Government Department of Employment 2015
Brief Every organisation has objectives that it wants to achieve. One way of doing this is to employ individuals who are responsible for managing projects and programs that support those objectives.

There are currently around 6,000 project and program administrators employed in South Australia. Employment is largely full-time and most work across a range of industries. Over half of persons in this occupation are female and most are employed in the Adelaide metropolitan area. This occupation has a slightly older age profile more than a third of people employed aged 45 years or older.

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Project or Program Administrators manage special or ongoing organisational projects. For example, a project administrator who is responsible for the development of a new software package coordinates the activities of software developers, software testers and engineers to ensure that the package comes together as planned and on time. In some smaller organisations, project administrators have a much more hands on role in the implementation of projects. Before projects get underway, project administrators are very often involved in the creation of prototypes or models. They are also responsible for developing a project plan that breaks the project down into clear tasks that are allocated to specific individuals and with critical milestones to be met. Throughout the life of the project, the administrator is responsible for producing reports that provide vital information on the progress of the project to all those involved with its implementation.

Education Requirements

To become a project or program administrator it is advantageous, but not always essential, to have gained a tertiary qualification in management. Project or program administration is one of many occupations where experience in management is always deemed highly by prospective employers. Of those currently employed 32% have Bachelor Degrees and 19% have Certificate III or IV qualifications.

TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Diploma of Project Management. Pathway includes the Certificate IV in Project Management Practice. Other courses associated with this occupation include the Certificate IV and Diploma in Government (Project Management).

The University of South Australia offers a Bachelor of Management degree majoring in Administrative Management.

The University of Adelaide offers a Bachelor of Commerce (Management) degree.

Flinders University offers a Bachelor of Government and Public Management degree.

Career Path

Project or Program Administrators find employment in a wide range of industries, from arts and education, to the building and construction industry. In larger organisations, there is usually more than one project administrator on board. Employment forecasts indicate strong growth for this occupation, but industry representatives warn that project administration work is often contract based.

Nature of the Job

People working as Project or Program Administrators have generally acquired a body of knowledge or experience in a particular area, for example engineering or medicine, before they develop the skills, or are delegated the responsibility for managing significant projects. Projects may be as broad as industries.

Typical Physical Working Environment

Resourcefulness and excellent organisational skills are the key to successful project management. This is an occupation that also depends on excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills. In addition, you will need to be confident when approaching and presenting information. On a technical level, be ready to draw on your database, spreadsheeting, and word computing skills to produce project management schedules and reports. Control of the project budget is usually the responsibility of project or program administrators and therefore, it's advantageous to also have good financial management skills.

Typical Occupational Example

An Art Gallery requested the assistance of Andrea, a Project Administrator to help them include art that was interesting to young people. For the project, Andrea started by collecting and analysing all associated data. ''I spend a lot of time travelling out to my target areas meeting young people aged between 16 and 20, and talking to them about their opinions and current usage of the Art Gallery, and their ideas on its potential. In this project, it's also important that I develop community partnerships with the local councils and recreation centres to see what they are doing as far as youth projects go and to get their support for my project.'' Another of Andrea's tasks is to respond to inquiries and comments on the Art Gallery's existing projects or services. In listening to peoples' comments, she is able to identify where changed or new products and services are needed.

Andrea works with an administrative team whose role is to assist her to get projects up and running. Regular meetings are held so that Andrea and the team can discuss where a project stands, what work still needs doing, and to iron out any current problems or issues. Throughout a project, administrators must pay remember to motivate their team.

Andrea also reports to sponsors, who have invested their time and money. Like all Project or Program Administrators, she also needs to keep senior management informed of progress and seek their advice on any matters of likely concern.

Further Information

For further information about all TAFE SA Courses, phone 1800 882 661 or enquire online