The BC Tech for Learning Society is featured in this week’s Non-Profit Highlight. We spoke with Brandon Chow about the organization’s focus on recruiting youth interns to refurbish donated technology from businesses and individuals to return to communities in need.
How did you get involved with BC Tech for Learning?
I first got involved with BC Technology for Learning by coming on as their marketing intern for my school’s co-op program. I was drawn in by their mission because it really resonated with me as someone so reliant on tech in my everyday life. It makes a huge difference for people to have access to a computer and it was something I wanted to be a part of.
Describe your team and all those involved with BC Tech for Learning
Our team is made up of a lot of youth interns who work as hardware technicians building their skills by learning how to refurbish equipment, deploy operating systems, and learn the ins and outs of inventory management. They’re all very eager to learn and that passion translates into their work refurbishing the computers which are sent to schools and non profits.
I’m curious about your “Computers for Schools” program. Can you explain?
Computers for Schools is a federal government-led initiative that collects donated computers and other types of tech, hires and trains youth to refurbish the computers and then distributes the computers to schools, non-profits, libraries, Indigenous communities, and students.
What impact does this program make?
The national Computer for Schools program has provided over 1.6 million computers across Canada of which BC Tech has contributed about 175,000.
Many non-profit recipients redistribute our computers to low income families or use them for their admin work. Schools upgrade their computer labs and provide their students new opportunities to learn with technology in the classroom. We also have programs that give low income families the opportunity to receive a free or heavily discounted computer.
We also have an environmental impact by refurbishing and reusing computers and therefore saving the heavy investment of resources needed to make them new.
Computers provided by BC Tech for Learning to Skills Canada for their youth competition
What challenges have you and your team overcome?
One of the main challenges that our team faces is being able to find new tech donations because of the nature of their usage. People don’t replace their tech very often, maybe every couple of years, so getting repeat donations can be difficult unless they are a large organization. We’re always reaching out to people and organizations to let them know how we can refurbish their tech for others rather than just immediately recycling it.
What has been the most rewarding moment you’ve had working with BC Tech for Learning?
The most rewarding moments I’ve experienced are getting to hear back from people that we’re providing computers to. Access to computers is so becoming necessary in our society and its nice to see how the work I’ve done can help create more opportunities for those in need.
How can businesses and individuals contribute to the organization’s work?
We take both business and individual tech donations! We accept laptops, computers, tablets, monitors, printers, etc. We charge no fees for the donation process and businesses can contact us and arrange with us free pick up service for large donations. If you don’t have any tech to donate, you can still contribute by spreading the word about us in person or on social media and that would be a big help.
The BC Tech for Learning Society is one of the many non-profit organizations using our MarketPlace #BrokersOfGood.