LEP provides laptops as part of digital inclusion project

Tyler Johnson, 18, with his new laptop provided by the New Anglia LEP digital inclusion scheme.

Tyler Johnson, 18, with his new laptop provided by the New Anglia LEP digital inclusion scheme. - Credit: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

A plumbing apprentice from West Suffolk is among those benefitting from a new digital inclusion scheme run by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Tyler Johnson, 18, from Sudbury, is studying for a Level 3 Plumbing Apprenticeship at West Suffolk College.

Mr Johnson received a new laptop on loan from the LEP this month enabling him to take part in online meetings with his tutors.

He works four days a week helping his brother Curtis with his plumbing business and one day a week on his course at West Suffolk College.

“I have to do a Zoom call with the college every couple of weeks,” he said. “My last laptop didn’t have a microphone or camera, so now I will be able to become more involved in things.

Tyler Johnson, 18, at work as an apprentice plumber.

Tyler Johnson, 18, at work as an apprentice plumber. - Credit: WEST SUFFOLK COLLEGE

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“They asked me if I needed a laptop and I said yes because it’s so much easier to work on a new one. It will make life a hundred per cent easier.”

New Anglia LEP  secured £198,289 from the European Social Fund for a Digital Inclusion Project that will see more than 200 laptops and Chromebooks with free data packages loaned out.

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Emma Taylor, Funding Manager at New Anglia LEP, said: "During a pandemic when so many training schemes, courses and job interviews are being conducted remotely, it’s more important than ever that young apprentices and people struggling to find work are supported.

“Ensuring we have the skills in this region to meet future demands is going to be a significant factor in how well our economy recovers from the impact of Covid-19, and we have to give people the tools they need.”

Among the organisations and project across the region benefitting from the scheme are Routes to Work and Norfolk Community College, which are run by East Coast College to help unemployed adults find work and build their skills.

Apprenticeships New Anglia and Apprenticeships Suffolk, which help people secure apprenticeships, will also benefit.

Minding the Gap, On Track and RYPE will also use some of the cash to help young people build workplace skills and confidence.

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