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Students help to ‘resolve’ IT poverty

Posted: 10 June 2021

Computer science students at West Nottinghamshire College are doing their bit to end digital poverty in the local community whilst honing their computer repair and upgrade services.

Students Jack Gray, Jonathan Hallowes and Peter Beardsley with Katie Cooper-Lewis from WeMakeICTPossible
Students Jack Gray, Jonathan Hallowes and Peter Beardsley with Katie Cooper-Lewis from WeMakeICTPossible

Mansfield-based campaign #WeMakeICTPossible, founded by three local business owners, made contact with the college to assist with their project to provide laptops, tablets and desktop systems to schoolchildren and young people in the community.

Gary Jordan, managing director of GMJ Solutions and chair of Mansfield and Ashfield 2020, Martin Rigley, managing director of Lindhurst Engineering and chair of Discover Ashfield, and Katie Cooper-Lewis, director of Grace Consultancy Midlands, have been working together for several years on community-focused projects.

Their latest mission to provide PCs and laptops to children in schools and colleges called upon the talents of computer science students at the college. The students, who as part of their studies work for one of the college’s learning companies, Resolve IT, took up the challenge of refurbishing and repairing old technology so that young people who are experiencing digital poverty in the Mansfield and Ashfield areas could have access to IT.

Working remotely from home, team #WeMakeICTPossible have spent the last seven months taking kind donations from members of the public, including laptops, PCs, keyboards and monitors, going through the refurbishment of equipment and donating them to schools with children in need of IT equipment to enable them to study from home.

Students from the college’s Resolve IT team have kindly agreed to take part in the refurbishment process to enable more children to have access to technology. To date, the team have taken 20 pre-loved PCs, replaced the hard drives, cleaned them and rebuilt them, ready to hand over to the project. Resolve IT is just one of the college’s learning companies and comprises of computer science, business studies and accountancy students working together to make it a fully-functioning business.

Katie Cooper-Lewis, from #WeMakeICTPossible, said: “Last year we noticed that more and more young people didn’t have access to IT. Approximately 25% of families in Mansfield don’t have a PC, so we wanted to help bridge that gap.

“With so many kind donations to date, we’ve managed to reach 240 families and provided children with the technology needed to undertake studies from home.

“West Nottinghamshire College has been so generous with their time and expertise in getting old laptops and PCs rebuilt. The students are very professional and thorough in their work and we’re going to continue working with the computer science team on this initiative.”

Computer science student and member of the Resolve IT team, Jonathan Hallows, said: “Working on a real project like this helps us to understand the importance of working to deadlines and we get to apply our skills on a wide variety of computers which all work in different ways.

“We’ve replaced hard drive to comply with data protection rules and performed all the relevant maintenance checks. It’s very rewarding to work on this project, knowing the equipment is going to be used by pupils who wouldn’t have had access to a computer before this.”

If you think you could support #WeMakeICTPossible with a laptop or PC donation visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/wemakeictpossible

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