Combating The Digital Divide
The digital divide refers to people who do not have reliable access to devices, connectivity, and lack digital literacy skills. 1 in 4 Australians are digitally excluded, which means they are not afforded the same opportunities as those who are able to connect to the digital world.
The ramifications of digital exclusion are far–reaching. It makes it difficult for Australians to connect with their community and engage in job seeking and impacts school students’ academic outcomes.
What is a National Device Bank?
In collaboration with our partners, WorkVentures aims to implement an exciting new piece of social infrastructure – a National Device Bank of donated and refurbished laptops, tablets and mobiles. City of Sydney Council is a sponsor of the National Device Bank Feasibility Study, providing a grant to test its feasibility in Sydney.
Over a five-year period, the Australian public and corporate sector will refresh ten million devices, with many companies utilising IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) services. This ultimately diverts devices into international markets for profit. Additionally, devices may be recycled or sent to landfill.
The National Device Bank model would encourage Australian companies and government agencies to donate their technology so that the devices can be refurbished and redistributed for free to people who are digitally excluded.
WorkVentures Media Release
To assist with our promotion of a National Device Bank, WorkVentures has partnered with MediaCast to create the below media release.
Ensuring Access to Reliable Devices for All Australians
The Benefits of a Device Bank
The goal of a National Device Bank is to bridge the digital divide and see widespread digital inclusion. The redistribution of devices would positively impact Australia’s employment levels, providing job seekers with the tools to gain meaningful employment.
Students who are digitally excluded risk falling behind compared to their peers who have regular access to an out-of-school device, as they cannot complete homework and assignments. A recent study conducted pro bono by KPMG on behalf of WorkVentures has identified that 83% of surveyed students provided with laptops reported an uplift in their educational results.
A Device Bank would also have positive environmental impacts. Australia generates over 539,000 tonnes of e-waste every year. By encouraging the refurbishment of devices, the amount of e-waste sent to landfill will decrease.
Technology Donation Impact Findings
The following report was created probono by KPMG to track the progress of students who were donated devices for the “Laptops for Lifelong Learning” initiative. Please see the insights below.
Our National Device Bank Roadmap
Advocacy and Awareness
Together with our partners, WorkVentures will increase awareness of the need for a National Device Bank and enhance engagement across the corporate and public sectors.
Collecting donated devices, followed by completing data sanitisation and staging. Re-distributing devices and providing adequate levels of support for digitally excluded individuals.
Creating a model whereby we can fund the donation of devices through the sale of others. Every device donated would be funded through the commercial remarketing of a second device.
Ongoing Impact Measurement
We will test our model via a proof of concept and embed ongoing insights and impact measurement to ensure that the National Device Bank is achieving the desired set of outcomes.
WorkVentures is a not-for-profit and social enterprise focused on transforming Australia through technology, skills and meaningful career pathways.
We work with business, government and the for-purpose sector to bridge the digital divide, provide equitable career pathway opportunities and promote a circular economy.