Glasgow College Tech Recycling Scheme to Tackle ‘Digital Inclusion’

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The programme sees volunteers recycle and restore the college’s outdated ICT equipment before they donate it to students and local community groups.

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Glasgow Clyde College has launched a forward-thinking recycling scheme which will provide students and local communities with valuable resources for learning.

The Gift-tech scheme recycles the College’s old computer equipment by cleaning, wiping and refurbishing PCs and laptops and restoring them to a workable state. This enables them to be used by students or local community groups.

This Glasgow College is one of the first FE establishments in Scotland to be granted Microsoft Refurbisher Program status to allow them to achieve the Gift-tech scheme. The college hopes the programme will reduce ‘digital social exclusion’.

In order to reduce barriers to participation, education and success, a small number of dedicated volunteers have worked tirelessly over the past six months to ensure students and local community groups will receive the resources- of around 300+ devices a year.

Gary McKeown, ICT Service Delivery Coordinator at the College who initiated the project, said: “Gift-tech offers a practical solution to recycling as well as an opportunity to support identified learners who are facing hardship, on low incomes or benefits and may be at risk of further social exclusion or dropping out of learning.

“Our Community Learning Development Manager, Sheila White has also worked hard meeting and speaking with local organisations to identify how the project can best support digital inclusion in the community.”

The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation has highlighted that Glasgow is still the most deprived city and local authority area in Scotland with 47% of its residents living in the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland.

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The College’s Development Plan, hope that Gift-tech will contribute to the prosperity and wellbeing of Scotland.

The project hopes to improve retention and raise attainment in learning, provide support for digital inclusion and promote inclusion and equality, while also working towards decreasing the number of PCs and laptops given to recycling companies each year.

McKeown added: “Every year, myself and the rest of the ICT team receive calls from staff looking for old laptops or computers that can help students with their classwork as they don’t have access to one at home.

“It’s a similar story with community groups, charitable organisations and nurseries looking for equipment that can support their projects. It started to get us thinking about how we could use our resources and help those who needed it.”

Students can access Gift-tech via a simple referral process which involves teaching and student support service staff.

Gift-tech will be implemented in all three of the College’s campuses in August 2019 before it is made available to community organisations.

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