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College launches recycling initiative to support digital inclusion

Gary, Sheila and Jon Vincent

Glasgow Clyde College has launched an innovative recycling initiative which aims to help students and local communities with valuable resources for learning, and to reduce digital social exclusion.

Gift-tech recycles the College’s old Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) equipment by cleaning, wiping and refurbing PCs and laptops and restoring them to a workable state allowing them to be used by students or local community groups. The College is one of the first FE establishments in Scotland to be granted Microsoft Refurbisher Program status to allow them to achieve this.

A small team of volunteers have dedicated their spare time to ensure the project gets off the ground, and have worked tirelessly for the last six months to ensure students and local community groups will be gifted the resources (up to 300+ devices a year) to help reduce barriers to participation, learning and achievement.

Gary McKeown, ICT Service Delivery Co-ordinator 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 shows that Glasgow remains the most deprived city and local authority area in Scotland with almost 47% of its residents living in the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland. As part of the College’s Development Plan, it aims to contribute to the prosperity and wellbeing of Scotland. The launch of Gift-tech will go some way to helping deliver that vision.

Gary continues: “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.”

Gift-tech will be made available to students through a simple referral process involving teaching and student support service staff and will be rolled out across all three of the College’s campuses in August 2019 and then out to community organisations.

The project aims to improve retention and raise attainment in learning, provide support for digital inclusion and promote inclusion and equality, all the while reducing the number of PCs and laptops given to recycling companies each year.

To find out more about Gift-tech, please email gift-tech@glasgowclyde.ac.uk

Image shows: Gary McKeown (ICT Service Delivery Co-ordinator), Shiela White (Community Learning and Development Manager)and Jon Vincent (Principal)