Capital City College Group (CCCG) has launched a drive to help disadvantaged students get online during and after the coronavirus pandemic.
Restrictions brought about by COVID-19 mean that students will be learning through a mix of face-to-face lessons and online learning, so the Group’s Laptops4Learners campaign is calling on businesses and the community to help provide 2,500 computers and tablets and raise £250,000 to buy more equipment to enable students to study at home.
The need for more computers goes beyond education with the Government estimating 90 per cent of jobs will require some kind of digital skills in the next 10-20 years.
CCCG Is London’s largest college group with 29,000 students enrolled across its three colleges – City and lslington College, Westminster Kingsway College and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London – and apprenticeship provider, Capital City College Training.
The Group has already provided more than £186,000 to help 577 of its learners purchase laptops since March and has helped over 3,500 to get more mobile data and better internet access.
Science diploma student Prevail Temile, 19, said: “Having a laptop has made it easier for me to research and finish my coursework and assignments. Before I was having to go to the library and use my phone and type answers.
“It’s given me more freedom to work when I want. I even redid some of my assignments because I had enough time to improve them and make sure they were correct.”
A Level student Aisha Balhweesal, 20, said: “With the coronavirus situation we are having to do everything from home. I was having to use my phone. It was hard to have different apps open to research and type things up, and I was unable to do one of my assignments.
“Getting a laptop has made a big difference. It’s helped me progress in my learning and made things quicker and easier. I’ve also managed to go back over work I missed and complete it.”
Two thirds (67 per cent) of our students come the bottom three bands of social deprivation with some living in the most deprived wards in the country.
Around a third (32 per cent) have to share a computer, laptop or tablet with their family and more than a quarter (28 per cent) are accessing online lessons on their mobile phones. Eight per cent have no technology to access online lessons at all.
CCCG is asking for new laptops or tablets for students or a financial donation towards providing this equipment.
Roy O’Shaughnessy, CEO of CCCG, said: “With the UK heading back into recession and unemployment rising because of the COVID-19 crisis, it is vital that our students do not miss out on their education.
“We’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far and we’re continuing to stretch every muscle to support our students, but we know that there are many more who need our help. And with even more disadvantaged Londoners expected to enrol with us in September, we know we will need many more computers to support their education.
“With your support we can help more of our learners, so they learn effectively online and gain the skills and qualifications they need to take their next steps into higher education or their chosen career.”