AQA donates laptops to help children learn online

Thursday 25 Feb 2021

We've donated 300 laptops to school children in the Trafford area in support of a local council initiative.

A number of old AQA laptops, that would normally be destined for disposal, were rescued and repurposed thanks to some quick thinking from Mike Roberts, an IT infrastructure manager based in our Manchester office.

Mike was watching a news report one morning that highlighted the poverty some children in the north west experience, and the large numbers in the region that have little or no access to devices for online learning. His wife, who works for Trafford Council, told Mike of the ‘Laptops for Learners’ appeal that was seeking refurbished or new hardware to supply local schools for children – and so the idea was born.

After discussing the idea with his manager, Mike volunteered to come up with a process to securely wipe the laptops, and arrange for them to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Working with AQA’s security team, they devised a robust process to completely wipe all data and ensure they were safe for redistribution.

A team of volunteers then spent several weeks wiping, cleaning and then checking the laptops, updating the operating systems and disinfecting and sanitizing every single one. Several colleagues came forward to help in their own time, working evenings and weekends to get them ready to send to Trafford council.

Mike Roberts, IT Infrastructure Manager at AQA, said:

“After seeing the news story I thought there was a way we might be able to help as we’d recently undergone an IT refresh. My wife then made me aware of the appeal at Trafford Council, and being based in Manchester, I thought it would be great if AQA could help out the local school children.

“I approached my manager and our leadership team with the idea of repurposing our old laptops, and they were very supportive and only too happy to help.

“It was a real team effort and I’d just like to say thanks to everyone involved and the colleagues who gave up their free time in evenings and at weekends. We’re very happy to hear the laptops are already on the way to the young people that need them.”

Andrew Western, Leader of Trafford Council said:

“We’ve been blown away by the fantastic response to our request for laptops and other devices to support the home learning of children across the borough.

“Home learning is tough at the best of times, but for those without access to the right technology it can become an impossible task, and there is a real risk that without help these children will fall significantly behind their peers.

“The donation from AQA is absolutely fantastic and will make a huge difference to the recipients. To see this number of laptops cleaned up and ready to be distributed across Trafford has given us all a real lift. We are living through difficult times, but over and over again the pandemic has brought out the best in people and fired up their community spirit. We thank everyone who has donated to the appeal for their kindness and generosity.”