The initiative, a spin-off from an earlier energy and carbon emissions cutting exercise by both Fujitsu and the Highland Council, to replace and upgrade the Highland Council’s office and schools IT systems, has been seen as a major environmental and community commitment.
A total of 10,000 computers and laptops are to be stripped and refurbished or salvaged by dedicated computer recycling company and Microsoft Registered Refurbisher ReBOOT. It is expected that at least 3,500 of the 10,000 will be fit for reuse.
Technology giant Fujitsu is investing over £300,000 in the recycling project which is aimed at preventing the systems going to landfill whilst benefiting communities groups and deserving children across the Scottish Highland region. The first batch of more than 60 laptops will go out shortly to community organisations who will use them to support their activities.
It is understood that in excess of 100 training places are to be made available by ReBOOT under a social enterprise role agreement which is part of the contract. The training places are to be offered to unemployed individuals seeking work, volunteer opportunities and work experience for school pupils.
A survey to assess the need for equipment was circulated to a wide range of community groups by the Highland Council working in partnership with Voluntary Action Highland. A further survey will follow later in 2012, to pick up new requests once distribution of the first devices is well under way. Groups wishing to put their electronic contact details on the circulation list can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Computers and other IT hardware that no longer meet the complex needs of large organisations are still a valuable asset and, far from lying redundant or going to landfill, can often have a productive and welcome second life. We aim to maximise the benefits of this for the Highlands, as a region to which we are committed and are working to develop as a base for some of our wider national and international business activity.”said Brodie Shepherd (Fujitsu’s Scotland Country Director)
We very much welcome this scheme as it provides a remarkable combination of community, environmental and economic benefits, including the creation of direct and skilled employment.said Councillor Carolyn Wilson (Chairman of The Highland Council's Resources Committee)
More than 350 Highland community organisations, working in areas from disability support to sports activity, are in line to receive 600 of the recycled devices over the next year, along with young people who meet specific criteria.
Amongst those benefiting from the programme will be local community support groups, children in local authority care, and upto 100 Young Carers (children who look after relatives at home) from the region will also be offered three-day visits with Fujitsu where they will learn about the process of refurbishment. The children will then build their own computers to take home and use.
by George Laugharne