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by Technews
Issue Date: May 2007

Eradicating barriers to education one click at a time

31 May 2007

Virtual tuition or e-learning, study by way of the Internet and video conferencing technology, is gaining popularity. Teryl Schroenn, MD at Accsys, a national provider of HR and payroll management software, says this is a practical and convenient approach to addressing skills shortages.
Accsys is the first company in Africa to develop and introduce a Payroll Administration Diploma via eLearning, an online course and SAQA approved qualification. The Diploma is an NQF level 5 eight-module course designed to take learners through everything required in the specialised payroll administration environment.
“One of the main advantages of the Accsys eLearning Diploma is the fact that it is comprehensive – it covers the entire scope of payroll administration and market related requirements and developments. Furthermore, it is accessible to everyone and is not limited by the normal obstacles – such as transport, access and availability of resources - that hamper progress within the traditional education environment,” says Schroenn.
To illustrate Schroenn points to the example of Werner Zietsman, an employee at IEMAS, a local provider of finance and insurance services. Despite the challenges associated with being hearing-impaired, the young man continues to excel within the Accsys e-Learning Diploma. IEMAS is affiliated to the Banking SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority). The company has an established, positive track record in its commitment to the learnership process and skills development programs.
Louise Geyer, group manager: Human Resources, IEMAS, explains that a few years ago the company made a decision to support disabled learners in their quest for skills through the learnership. At the same time the company identified the Accsys eLearning course as an ideal mechanism to teach those who want to enter the profession.
“The payroll environment is ideal for someone who can write and who is accurate. Initially we made the classic mistake of matching the disability with the functionality – whilst being a practical approach, it does not always address the needs of someone in this position. This has changed quite significantly with time. Our intention to introduce learners with disability, train them and help them to become employed is a contribution – albeit small – towards the company, the individual and society as a whole.”
Geyer is Zietsman’s direct supervisor and continues to serve as the eLearner’s mentor. The course is ideal for someone in his position she says.
“Werner has always been very committed, and very dedicated from the outset. Although communication can be difficult, he is passionate about computers, programs and new applications. His skills have developed significantly from the coaching in combination with the course. It is convenient and practical, and is flexible enough to accommodate all his needs and requirements,” she adds.
Although it is unclear as to whether he will pursue a career in payroll administration, his experience with eLearning has boosted his morale and enriched his skills sets making him far more marketable says Geyer.
“We are all inspired by Werner’s determination and level of commitment. He is not restricted at all and is more than coping with the course requirements and virtual communication infrastructure. This is a powerful example of what can be achieved through combination of hard work, determination, the right technology and support,” says Schroenn.

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