A higher-level version of the project management qualification PRINCE2, PRINCE2 Professional, is launching next week.

Designed to test holders of the existing PRINCE2 Practitioner certification, the new qualification will assess a candidate's ability to apply the PRINCE2 method.

"Industry feedback says that organisations want to hire PRINCE2 qualified project managers who are competent, not just knowledgeable.

"PRINCE2 Professional will be suitable for those who can show their practical experience of applying the method. We hope it will become the new standard to which all professional project managers will aspire," said Nikki Kelly, product development manager at APMG-International who developed the qualification.

Unlike for the existing PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner qualifications, the new PRINCE2 Professional qualification will not require candidates to take an exam.

Instead, they will be evaluated during a two-and-a-half day exercise at a residential assessment centre.

During the assessment days, candidates will be put into small teams, given project case studies and asked to demonstrate and give evidence of their application of the PRINCE2 methodology. They will also be given solo tasks and essays to complete.

The evaluators will observe candidates working on the case study and mark candidates against 19 competency criteria, which include preparing a business case, interpersonal skills, product-based planning and capturing lessons learned.

There will also be individual interviews with an evaluator.

The pass mark is a minimum of one in each of the 19 criteria and a minimum average score of 1.6.

To apply for the new qualification, which is available from 30 January, candidates must hold a valid PRINCE2 Practitioner qualification.