T4TTOAP (Tech4Tots, Teens & OAP’s) Tech for all.

Scotland is facing severe socio-economic challenges brought on by the decline of industry, youth out-migration an ageing population and the cost of living crisis. There is a major Digital and Technical skills shortage and there is an immediate need for action if Scotland is to remain an attractive place to do business for the technical industries. 

Budding Engineers have a role to play in meeting these future challenges by supporting disadvantaged people and reducing waste.

Our Company was set up to promote and to deliver STEAM related education and inspire learning in the sciences, technology, engineering, art, and maths subjects, with emphasis towards 3D design CAD and digital technology. In addition, we are helping with online learning by recycling donated PCs and laptop computers. The recycling project has been incorporated into our business model as we hope to have apprentices and volunteers helping with our future projects when we find a suitable premise. It will also assist with the development and training of digital and computer technology and help to put an end to digital device exclusion across Scotland.

Budding Engineers CIC has many followers who home educate their children, and this is one of the sectors that seems to be greatly missing out. Since lockdown there has been more families home educating their children and especially those with children who have additional support needs, and we are here to help them.

With the cost of living rising, plus energy prices, food bills, fuel costs and lots more. We’re all struggling with our finances. Unfortunately for many people on the lowest incomes, the cost of surviving this crisis is too high and to go out and purchase a laptop is well beyond their means. 

Covid 19 brought digital technology to the forefront and made everyone stand up and realise we need to use technology in our daily lives. There are many families, students, older people, and old age pensioners who might not have a device. Help us get devices to those who need it.

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She is absolutely delighted with hers and is feeling very grown up! She loves anything to do with science and we are keen to encourage that as much as possible, so her laptop will be put to good use! 

Our son’s needs are very different to our daughters but despite his disability he is a bright wee boy who just so happens to need extra physical help. Having his own device will make a huge difference to what he is able to access. We are currently having to decide between a placement in a resource school or home education and his device will be invaluable in either setting. 

Our Daughter has been using her device a lot during the holidays. She’s discovering lots of new interests and today has been using it to research puffins! Another big passion is art and she enjoys creating masterpieces on the laptop and also using it to access tutorial videos. We have been using Our Son’s to him to help expand his communication skills. He is working hard on his switch skills and we are hoping to try and link his device to a switch interface so that he can start to learn some basic controls himself. We are extremely grateful for the opportunities you have given our children.

Thank you very much again and all the very best with the next stages.

Dear budding Engineers

I wanted to write a quick review for you guys and to say a massive thank you for how much you have helped our family. Our daughter has gone on to produce some art with the laptop you guys provided for her – we are pleased to say she has been accepted onto a portfolio course at the Glasgow School of art which is due to start in august. She would have been unable to do so without the help of the laptop you provided.

Our other daughter has managed to get back to her online learning full time and is able to get back to taking part in her zoom cooking classes with the laptop she received from you guys. She has currently been back to printing off recipes and gaming while learning all at the same time. She was completely over the moon!

The tablet you provided for our little ones has had so much use! They have been watching peppa pig on YouTube and have been playing some jigsaw games and other much loved peppa games. They are also still working with us to help my other daughter and have been absolutely amazing.

We honestly couldn’t have done all this without the help of you and your lovely wife. The dedication and support you have offered our family, we could honestly never repay you. You are both kind and generous souls helping folk like my family who could have never afforded any of this without you guys.

Thank you both so much from the bottom of our hearts.

PS. Here is some of our daughters art…

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Just some feedback about the laptops – 

 Nathan, 13, (Autistic/Asperger’s) – Having a portable station I can do work on has helped a lot with my high school work. I’m able to practice typing faster as well which will help coming up to my exams when they’re going to let me type answers. I’m still learning how to use the graphics programmes, but I am really interested in learning how to make games so I can’t wait to get stuck in to these programmes. It’s also allowed me to connect with friends online. So as well as help with school work it’s helped me keep in touch with friends because we don’t live in the town and so I don’t see them a lot outside school.

 Sam, 12, (Autistic PDA, ADHD, Cerebral Visual Impairment, Hypermobility) – I really like being able to take my computer anywhere I go. The spelling and typing programmes are really good because I need to get better at that. I really like the math game with the asteroids as well but I always panic I’m not going to be fast enough. I’ve not tried the other programmes yet because I need my mum to learn it first and she’s old so it will take a while. Having the laptop makes me feel cool and makes things easier like doing homework because I can’t write properly because of my fingers. I’ve been using it to watch ‘how to draw’ videos too and want to send you my pictures so you can see the hard work i’m doing. 

 Xander, 9 (Autistic, ADHD, Cerebral Visual Impairment, Dyspraxia, Hypermobility) – I feel really good using the laptop especially on a laptop tray in my lap, it makes the screen closer and when mum puts it on dark mode I can see the writing really clearly which is nice. I like the spelling game with the fish and the penguin, I really like fish so it’s cool watching him eat them. I like the maths game and I am really bad at maths so I just do it on the easy ones, but mum is making me do the harder ones too so I can get better. I like the asteroid game the best – it’s really rushy and makes me excited because you have to be fast before the asteroid crashes. I think having the laptop will help me catch up with others in my class. I’ve been told I won’t be able to write properly ever and so having a laptop will be really important for me to do work with. 

 Mum – Having the laptops in the house has made a massive difference to the overall environment we have. There is no squabbling and fighting over the only desktop we have because they now have their own equipment and so can use it as and when needed. This has freed up a lot of my time to go child to child and help them (although I’m still getting to grips with the graphics programmes as Sam so POLITELY said above). They are constantly in use when they come home from school, whether it’s the inbuilt programmes or like Sam has done broadening it to online lessons almost and it’s lovely to see the kids have that little bit of independence to do that without feeling like I’m shadowing them all the time. It’s boosted their confidence in their abilities in both writing (We’ve had some very creative writing coming on now because we’re not getting frustrated/put off about handwriting or complaining about achy hands and fingers from holding pencils thanks to their hypermobility) and maths. They can honestly play that asteroid maths game for hours – Xander alone was on it for about 2 hours one time and his school teacher has reported improvements in his mental maths up to 20 which is huge because he is quite far behind. 

 If I had one criticism of anything it would only be for the boys with CVI on the spelling/typing game – the fish are a grey colour and the writing is white which can make it tricky for them to see clearly. We’ve had a few miss-spelled words because of their eyesight not catching the words on the similar background – if there was a way to change the text colour that would be really helpful for them (there could well be one already, I’ll have to check!). 

 Overall having the laptops has made a huge difference not just to the boys’ learning but to the whole house because I’m dealing with less fights and arguments too. When the autistic boys are needing decompression they can pop on a headset and zone out for a bit, they can get creative and have a space to do that now that doesn’t necessarily involved having to be able to move a pencil properly. They’re able to chat to pals, get homework done faster (Always a bonus for the oldest!) and research things that interest them. It’s been a massive help to our family and home and I am forever grateful to Dave and Liz and Budding Engineers for listening to our story and engaging with us to help even though we live in the South West of Scotland. 

 Thanks again guys, really

 The boys and I are more than happy for you to share it, names etc included, and Sam says you can even share his picture if you want ???? can you tell he’s super proud of his dragon? This is a boy that couldn’t draw a circle not long ago! 

Theresa – Nathan, Sam and Xander of course. 

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My home educated boys had been asking for years for a “gaming pc” but being a single mum, my finances were never going to afford one. Like most mum’s though, I couldn’t bare to say no, so I would just keep saying, “maybe next Christmas” or “next birthday”, until eventually, they just gave up asking.

I though I’d be glad when they stopped pestering me, but watching them give up hope like that absolutely broke my heart knowing I was so helpless. When I saw a Facebook post about Budding Engineers, I thought it was a scam to be honest! A charity giving away free tech? No way! So I didn’t apply.

But then people started talking about the PC’s and laptops that they had received and something in me saw this as the one chance to make my son’s dreams become manifest.

I swallowed my pride and made the application. I was sure I would be rejected cause I had boldly asked for a gaming pc for each of the boys. But fortune favours the bold so off went the application. Very soon after, I was told that both my sweet boys had been awarded their very own gaming pc! Part of me was in shock, the other party was crying with relief and heartfelt gratitude. I hadn’t told my boys anything about what I’d been up to, so when the post man delivered two big boxes addressed to them, they were clueless. 

Upon opening their boxes, they were squealing with delight, running between each others’ bedrooms to showcase to each other what they had just been given.

In that moment, seeing how excited they were humbled me!

Hi my son is absolutely over the moon with his laptop, he is severely Autistic, his technology keeps him calm without challenges, thank you so much for helping him.

Budding Engineers CIC is a very small organisation, with just four directors, all of the directors are volunteers. The organisation is mainly run by David & Liz Kerr.

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David is the founder and Managing Director and set up Budding Engineers CIC when he saw that there was a need for this type of service.  He was finding that many students would be dropping out of technical subjects, and he was keen to help and try to change that. 

Budding Engineers CIC is a very small organisation and Dave has 28 years’ experience in dealing with computers, hardware software. So, when Covid struck it was decided that he would be ideally suited to take charge of our project which was to recycle old computers. 

Budding Engineers CIC main aims are:

  • Importance of Digital and Technological Real Work Skills.
  • Addressing the Skills Gap in 3D Design and Digital Technology.
  • Repair, Reuse and Recycling of IT equipment.
  • Help to discover and encourage the strengths in Neurodiversity.

We can achieve all these aims with our recycling of devices as we look to inspire STEAM from the learning applications we install on these devices.  

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If electronic waste enters landfill, it has the potential to release carbon into the atmosphere which then damages the environment. Our recycling has been incorporated as a permanent part of our business model as it helps with Climate Change.

This is a sustainable way of reusing old technology and bringing new life back to old devices, which people thought could no longer be used. Lots of electronic items end up in landfill. Since we started recycling back in May 2020, we have managed to keep out over 1.6 tonnes of electronic waste from going to landfill.

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Quite often people will donate a device without a battery, power supply or even the hard drive. In addition, every device we receive the data on the hard drive will be securely erased.

We can take a laptop that was over fifteen years old and give it a new lease of life. Upgrade the hard drive to a Solid-State Drive (SSD), install the maximum memory the device could handle, and a new battery if required. This money will help so many families. 

Should we be successful, the funds raised can give many more people access to a device. We will be able to purchase replacement hardware like replacement batteries, SSD drives, RAM (Memory modules), power supplies, keyboards and mice. We also purchase components for the desktop computers we donate.

Below is a laptop that we received without a power supply, battery hard drive caddy and the hard drive.

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A desktop computer without a hard drive.

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