I am supporting a community pilot which brings together the provision of training, computer equipment, and reasonable credit, within a single coherent initiative.

 The scheme is a collaboration between ourselves and a training company, together with the local RSL and credit union. The objective is to attract tenants to take up (and complete) a range of courses, for which they will be provided with a (refurbished) laptop to learn on. Once they have completed the course, they are given the option of buying the same laptop at a discounted price, partly subsidised by the RSL (in this case 50%). The credit union is available to help with any loan/repayment plan if needed - typical amount tenant would pay under this scheme is £70 - £90.

The amount of subsidy is variable (dependent upon available funding), but I believe other RSL's are trying out similar schemes.  The main advantages are:

  • Learners can eventually keep the device they learn on and are familiar with (suitable for both digital champions & tenants)
  • Motivated to complete the course (in this case 8 weeks)
  • Part payment by tenant means some "buy in"(rather than given free)
  • Credit union provides financial safety net
  • Training company refreshes training units more frequently

 I'd be interested in any feedback, and hope this might be useful.

Views: 36

Tags: training

Comment by Matt Nelson on November 6, 2013 at 14:39

Hi Julian

Sounds really interesting. We are setting up something similar in Cambridge. We were planning to "rent" the laptops to tenants. However, we feel that handlimng such small amounts of cash will be problematic. I like the idea of getting the credit unions involved and selling the equipment to the tenant after a given period.

Comment by James Lewis on November 8, 2013 at 17:07

Hi Julian - ALSO in Cambridge (must be something aobut the air or the water!) and we're thinking along those lines too (not sure about subsidy part yet and I'm interested in tablets/smartphones too as I think they're likely direction of travel (I think 2014 is predicted to be a warershed year for smartphone access in UK) unless you're looking to build office skills for employablity etc. ).

Have you managed to get round the 'hoops' that credit unions tend to require for loans - e.g. borrowers to have savings with them for a while first and/or have an account history?

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