Computers4all has launched a new initiative in partnership with HMP The Mount in Hertfordshire that will see selected prisoners trained in rebuilding and reconfiguring old PCs and IT equipment so that it is suitable for re-use.
The refurbished IT equipment, which would have been disposed of, will be donated to disadvantaged communities, charities and educational establishments.
The charity Langdon, which offers support, education and employment opportunities for people with learning difficulties, will be the first organisation to work with the computers repaired at The Mount.
The scheme has been developed with the backing of the Ministry of Justice. The prisoners involved will receive an industry-standard qualification in IT after completing the training course.
The project is also aimed at providing inmates with valuable skills that can help them find employment after release.
HMP The Mount will host the first workshop in the scheme. The workshop will initially involve eight prisoners and is expected to increase if the project grows.
Mark Abrahams, Computers4All – “The refurbishment of old computer equipment offers environmental as well as social benefits as equipment that would otherwise be ‘retired’ or disposed of can be put to good use again”
Steve Bradford, the governor at HMP The Mount said: “We are delighted to have launched the first Computers4All refurbishment centre here. This is a scheme that looks set to bring huge benefits for prisoners participating in the training. Prisoners do not have access to the Internet or internal computer systems.
“However, this IT course will provide training in skills and disciplines that will have a real value for them as they re-enter the workplace. Ultimately the end result is that we are providing high quality equipment that can help disadvantaged groups in society who might otherwise be excluded from having computers and being able to access the Internet.”
Mark Abrahams, chief executive of Computers4All, said: “Although we live in a digital age, there are still large sections of society that simply don’t have access to online services that many of us may take for granted.
“At the same time, a four- to five-year old corporate machine which may have reached its end of life in a business environment can still serve as a high quality PC.
According to Abrahams, an estimated 126,000 tonnes of IT equipment is dumped in landfill sites annually, representing a huge waste of valuable resources and presenting an environmental threat to water tables.
Abraham’s said: “The refurbishment of old computer equipment offers environmental as well as social benefits as equipment that would otherwise be ‘retired’ or disposed of can be put to good use again.”