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Graduate Mel gets experience on her file.

Management graduate Mel Cartwright already had a good job with the RAC but last year she found herself filing documents for a Midlands museums organisation.

The customer care operations manager had just completed a PGDip at York University, sponsored by her employer, and was keen to enrol for a Masters in Management.

But her bosses at the RAC Control Centre, in Walsall, thought the best next step would be to share her newly-acquired skills as a manager with a body which needed help -through Arts and Business West Midlands.

Little did Mrs Cartwright know this would mean whipping an archaic and chaotic archive system into shape.

She is one of three finalists in line for the Jaguar Award for Arts and Business Adviser of the Year, which will be announced on November 13.

'I was thinking of enrolling for the MA until it was suggested that I try using my newly-acquired skills in the day-to-day business arena before getting any more paper qualifications,' said Mrs Cartwright.

'But one of my colleagues said I should offer my services as an Arts and Business skills bank adviser. Basically they try and match you to the type of management you want to do, I was put in with an museums organisation. 'However I never for a moment thought my management skills would be used to help a firm devise a filing system.'

Not only were there paper mountains to scale at the West Midlands Regional Museums Council's offices in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, but also an office move, a name change and new technology.

The Museums, Libraries and Archives West Midlands now boasts a combined electronic and paper filing system which all staff are able to use.

Lesley Kerr, the body's access development manager, said Mrs Cartwright's involvement with the project made 'a tremendous difference'.

'Without her input we would still be struggling with a mass of paper and electronic data which was poorly stored, difficult to retrieve and not what we needed to operate effectively.' she said.

Mrs Cartwright is still postponing her MA studies and is now lending her expertise to the Sound It Out Community Music group, based in Digbeth, and has also been offered another adviser's role by a Walsall charity.

'I've learnt more about management through these experiences than I would've if I'd gone straight back to university,' she said.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 28, 2003
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