Project Management Programme at Castleoak Empowers Employees While Tackling ‘Ineffective’ and ‘Non-Existent’ Practice


A comprehensive project management programme at Castleoak has empowered employees whilst changing a long-standing culture of ‘ineffective’ practice.

With offices in Cardiff, London and Malvern, manufacturing operations in Ebbw Vale, and construction sites across the UK, Castleoak employs over 160 people.

The business offers specialist development and construction solutions to the care and retirement living sectors. Having delivered over 200 care homes and 2000 assisted living apartments for older people across the UK over thirty years, Castleoak reviewed its project management practices and as result, invested in the development of its staff to make a step change in performance.

USW Commercial Services worked with the organisation to tailor a project management programme to meet their specific needs. Miles Huckle, of Annovista and lead PM consultant at USW, worked with the company to get to know and understand their needs before designing a bespoke course that would achieve their goals. It was rolled out in November 2016, but really took off when HR Director Andrew Duggan joined one of USW’s Agile open programmes at the beginning of 2017.

Andrew began implementing and championing the methodology within the organisation, and colleagues quickly noticed a positive impact from the new way of working.

Andrew became a driving force for change, and following his example, employees quickly became more engaged with the in-company programme.

Andrew Duggan says: “Castleoak has always been an innovator and our people were brilliant at generating new ideas. The trouble was, we were good at starting things and not finishing them. This led to a feeling that nothing every really changes – they just get talked about. This project management programme has addressed that by allowing the business to empower people to deliver their ideas and manage change in a structured, well supported manner.

“This year at a staff conference we were able to celebrate a project that we had completed – this was a project that we had been working on for about 18 months, but by working in a different way we managed to pull it off in 10 weeks. Members of staff said that they felt more engaged, confident and involved in the business, and that the key difference was that we were now able to celebrate what we’ve done, rather than what we say we’re going to do.”

Employees at Castleoak have taken on a number of project management techniques, which are now part of their day-to-day routines. Andrew explains that everything is prioritised using the ‘MoSCoW’ technique, and at the completion of a project, they do the ‘Lessons Learned’ exercise.

Of working with USW Commercial, Andrew said: “Would we use USW again? Yes. Would we consider using them for other professional development? Absolutely. I’d tell anyone who was thinking about starting a project management programme in their organisation with USW to ring me, see what we’ve done, and then they’d be straight on the phone booking courses!

“Miles, the tutor on the programme, is a strong expert and got to grips with our business needs quickly. He has evolved with us, and kept pace with what we implemented and changed thinking. I can certainly recommend what has been done and how it’s been delivered.”

To find out more about creating a bespoke, in-house programme for your company please contact us on For our open programmes, please click here.