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BNSW Member creating Jobs for Young People with Social Enterprise

February 23, 2012

Job opportunities for young people are being created by an up-and-coming social enterprise which is giving old computers a new lease of life.

St Loye’s IT Solutions has been supported by a growing number of city businesses since it was launched in April this year.

Based on the Sowton Industrial Estate, its staff collect unwanted IT equipment from companies in the Exeter area, wipe all data from the computers and recondition them to be sold on to individuals, small businesses or community groups.

The team of four at Kestrel Business Park also offer computer health checks, upgrades, repairs and web design services.

The venture is one half of St Loye’s Enterprises, which also manufactures blue badges for disabled drivers in Devon. All profits are returned to the St Loye’s Foundation to help disabled adults, including ex-services personnel, become financially and socially independent. Enterprises manager Paula Sudbury said: “One thing we don’t want is to appear slick and corporate – we want to be friendly, approachable and speak plain English.”

IT technician Sebastian Mason, 24, found a job with St Loye’s Enterprises through the Government’s Future Jobs Fund having been unemployed for a few months. He has now been working for the social enterprise for around 18 months.

“I have had various roles and I have gained loads and loads of experience,” he said. “I originally started doing finance and then came down here to run the IT hardware collections, data wiping and repairs.

“In my previous job I worked in IT for an engineering company but coming to work for St Loye’s has given me the whole picture of how a business runs end to end, not just my little space. I want to stay here as long as possible because it could turn into something really big. There’s a huge gap in the market for IT recycling, if you think every employee these days has a computer and at some point that gets upgraded.”

Head of software and web development David Dale, 32, joined St Loye’s IT Solutions in May.

“It’s been a really hectic seven months – let’s hope it carries on that way,” he said.

Joseph Frearson, 19, is just starting an IT apprenticeship with St Loye’s IT Solutions, and the company regularly welcomes young people for work experience placements.

“I’m hoping to turn this into a hub for young people to get into employment, but that’s a little way down the line,” said Paula.

St Loye’s IT Solutions is encouraging firms in the area who want to bolster their corporate social responsibility (CSR) credentials to donate their unwanted computer equipment. It is also seeking some roll-cages or containers and sack-trucks to use on collections. Companies which have already donated IT equipment include Bovey Castle, the Buckerell Lodge, Paperchain, Bluegrass Computer Services and WNW Design.

For more information, contact Sebastian on 01392 357677.

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