Diploma in Records and Information Management

Qualification: Diploma in Records and Information Management.
Where: The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.
Contact: Freephone: 0508 650 200, web: www.openpolytechnic.ac.nz
Entry requirements: Under 20 years - NCEA University Entrance or equivalent. Over 20 years - open entry.
Application deadlines: Students can start in any semester. Enrolments for semester 2 close in July.
Course costs: $534 per course. Six courses required.
Starting salary: $30,000-$40,000. With previous technical and project experience $45,000-$75,000.

As well as ensuring records are set up in the first place, record management teams have to make sure records are correctly maintained, available to whoever requires them, and destroyed or archived in an appropriate way.

The Open Polytechnic diploma in records and information management offered by of New Zealand provides training for people interested in an information management career; particularly those already working in information management functions. This includes staff involved in records, archives and libraries.

The diploma has two compulsory courses; principles of records management and electronic document and records management. Students also select four other courses, such as archives, information technology, communication, law or management. There is also a research paper and a practicum option.

As a distance education qualification, students study at home or work when it suits (evenings, early mornings, weekends). About 10-12 hours per week is required for each course. Study can be part-time or full-time.

This is the only undergraduate qualification in records and information management in New Zealand; Victoria University of Wellington offers a postgraduate qualification.

GRADUATE Ann Frewen

Electronic document systems administrator

North Shore City Council

Completed course in 2007

Councils have regulatory responsibility to create and keep full and accurate records that must be accessible to the public on everything from council meetings to dog registrations.

As systems administrator, I ensure North Shore City Council's electronic document management system, DataWorks, is operational at all times. This includes system security set-up so customers can access documents and information on their desktop.

It also covers technical specification preparation, investigative and analytical work and customer liaison with internal and external customers and our software vendor.

I applied for this position in 1999 when the council implemented DataWorks to provide faster and better access to information.

I was already working in the records division and had become extremely interested in records management and related legislative frameworks and thought electronic document management systems (EDMS) would be an interesting career path. And it is. Recently I have diversified into EDMS information management projects, which includes customer liaison, analysis and communication.

I enrolled in records management with the Open Polytechnic because I wanted to upskill and extend my information technology systems experience. I then did the electronic document management course, which really clarified my role for me. After that, I continued into the full diploma programme because I could see it would be very beneficial.

Distance education was a great option. The flexibility of home-based study suits me better than attending night classes after work.

The lecturers were very receptive; I could send an email query during the evening and receive a response the very next day. There was also opportunity to interact online with fellow students from diverse professions and organisations.

Three things really stood out in the course. The content of each course was clear and well structured. Each course contained modules on problem solving and organising information that I have since found critical skills for successful project outcomes in my job.

And all assignments required the application of theory to relevant projects and activities within our own organisation.

The communication papers were the most challenging but also the most beneficial.

We looked at strategies to improve organisational communication and analysed and evaluated communication practices, including our own.

A formal course builds your knowledge and fills in little gaps you haven't seen or thought important. I also believe learning keeps you invigorated and interested in your job and life. I hear many people say they are too old to learn, but you're never too old. MANAGER Jeff Shaw

North Shore City Council manager of information systems

It has been good for us to be able to send Ann out to clients with an academic qualification like this behind her.

Ann is an amazing worker who is very effective as electronic systems administrator because of her combination of record management experience and her study.

She is very capable at not just explaining what has to be done but also at explaining why it has to be done and then helping people use it in the workplace.

Aside from the electronic document and records management knowledge, I also feel the communications courses were highly valuable to Ann.

Expressing complex business issues was sometimes a challenge for her, but her ability to do this improved no end through the course.

- NZ Herald

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