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Strapped for cash? Try refurbished IT

Birkenhead Sixth Form College have recently upgraded their tech facilities for a fraction of the expected cost

Posted by Charley Rogers | August 10, 2017 | Product news

Now more than ever, education establishments are faced with replacing and updating equipment on greatly reduced budgets across all departments. IT infrastructure, in particular, is one area that is increasingly central to the provision of modern, high quality teaching and, consequently, requires consistent renewal - something which is beyond the average school or college IT budget.

One solution to this challenge that most education providers are unaware of is the role of refurbished IT hardware and supporting materials. By opting to buy reconditioned PCs, monitors and laptops, schools and colleges can save thousands of pounds.

Just ask Birkenhead Sixth Form College. The college, which is placed in the top 10% of the country’s sixth form colleges for A Level provision among 16 to 19 year olds, has invested £3.5 million into their facilities over recent years.

The drive to provide the best for students is of paramount importance and the ICT investment has focused on developing an excellent learning facility for all students, with emphasis on the use of technology and mobile learning in particular - which won the college national acclaim from the Learning Skills Network and has now seen the college shortlisted for the TES Award for Sixth Form College of the Year 2017.

Leading the technology investment, John Paul Szkudlapski, Head of IT services at the college, said: “There is a huge drive here at Birkenhead to equip our students with the very best as we start to prepare them for the future. Access to first class technology is crucial at this turning point in our students’ careers but meeting those requirements while adhering to ever decreasing budgets can be a challenge.”

For the amount it costs to buy, for example, 10 new PCs direct from a vendor such as Dell or Apple, a school’s procurement manager could purchase 20 reconditioned systems that are exactly the same spec and quality but for a fraction of the cost.

“That’s why we turned to Hardware Associates for our latest hardware purchases. By buying over 80 refurbished Dell Optiplex desktops in 2016 we were able to make a saving of over £16,000. What’s more, the machines are covered by a year’s warranty and Hardware Associates’ Q20 Promise which completely negates the risk of buying refurbished and makes it a no brainer really.”

The desktops, which were installed over the course of 2016, are now being utilised by students throughout the college, helping to further enhance the education on offer at Birkenhead.

“A big myth of refurbished hardware is that it’s not as good quality or matches the exact specifications schools require,” said Bill Champness, Managing Director at Hardware Associates. “However, that’s not the case. For the amount it costs to buy, for example, 10 new PCs direct from a vendor such as Dell or Apple, a school’s procurement manager could purchase 20 reconditioned systems that are exactly the same spec and quality but for a fraction of the cost.”

By working with the right IT partner, and receiving the right advice, education establishments can get the maximum value out of their available budget, equipping students and staff with the resources they need and even provide peripheral equipment as added extras.

Bill continued: “What’s more, a lot of schools are unaware of the potential goldmines that they’re sitting on in unused IT equipment. Every school or college will have systems, monitors or laptops that they no longer use and are literally just sitting there gathering dust. We offer an asset disposal service, which can be very financially rewarding for education providers. Most schools and colleges will undoubtedly have IT systems or equipment that are no longer being used and what we can do is take that off them, thoroughly check them and provide cashback for the unused equipment. In this way, schools and colleges are provided with cash they never thought they had and can use it to purchase further equipment as and when they need to.”

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