Industry leaders are encouraged by a noticeable increase in interest in the Internet as a medium for education. Teryl Schroenn, CEO at Accsys, a national provider of HR and payroll management solutions and provider of eLearning services, believes the virtual classroom is boosting the credibility and level of professionalism within the payroll administration sector.
The Internet continues to receive acclaim as a medium for instant, automatic and unrestricted access to education. While already established as a tool in schools and tertiary institutions, its appeal as a means to acquire and develop skills and receive accreditation is now extended to a vast number of markets and industries, says Schroenn.
“Payroll administration requires meticulous attention to detail, an unwavering commitment to deadline-driven actions and a thorough understanding of the payroll function in companies, including salaries structure, benefits and taxes. Considering this criteria and the acknowledged lack of sufficient skills in payroll, Accsys conceptualized and introduced the first online payroll qualification available in Africa, delivered through Accsys eLearning,” she says.
The SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority)-approved online Payroll Administration Diploma is an NQF (National Qualifications Forum) level 5 eight-module course.
It is designed to take learners through everything required in the specialised payroll administration environment.
“I believe it is fair to say that eLearning has captured the attention of the market,” says Schroenn. “Aside from accessibility, the virtual classroom scenario can accommodate more learners and suits current market conditions.
“There are more and more reports of student upheaval at tertiary institutions fuelled, partially, by issues such as fees and access to resources. eLearning has become a favoured alternative to class attendance for full time students. At the same time part-time learners, including those who are employed and require formal recognition of their skills, are able to adjust their schedules and integrate the course into their lives with relative ease,” says Schroenn.
Can learners really advance in an environment based fundamentally on digital interaction? Yes, says Claire Jarman, eLearning and Training Facilitator at Accsys.
“Learners are coping very well within the digital or virtual classroom environment,” says Jarman. “We are able to proactively assess and evaluate each individual’s progress and activity. This virtual classroom is growing at a rapid rate and is proving to be a highly successful medium for imparting payroll knowledge. Yes, it is not conventional, but it is the way forward. This road less traveled will soon be a well trodden path with many of Accsys learners carrying their payroll qualification with pride.”
Maggie Fregona-Hill, an eLearning consultant, concurs saying that while the process of securing the buy-in of all parties can be frustrating, there is every reason to believe the initiative is working and does enjoy widespread appeal.
“Clearly there is a lot of support for the inherent aims and advantages of eLearning and the purpose behind this type of education. If one considers the payroll industry of old and compare it to where we are today, there have been massive advances in terms of mindset and technology convergence. The industry has traditionally shied away from the integration of systems, but this has changed. Today the payroll profession demands the same level of meticulous attention to detail and time, but also that candidates demonstrate proficiency in the latest HR, payroll software and solutions,” she adds.
Accsys is currently laying down the blue print for an apprentice/ company sponsorship scenario in which successful learners that meet specific criteria are afforded an opportunity to work in the industry.
“This concept and plan is still very much in its infancy, but we believe all the structures and necessary resources are in place to make the concept viable. Accsys is pleased to be at the forefront of this development and we foresee greater use of this channel towards payroll qualification going forward,” Schroenn adds.