What Green Jobs Look Like in Practice: Techbuyer Speaks at Teen Tech

Rich Kenny, Group IT Director at Techbuyer was delighted to be invited to speak at TeenTech, where thousands of students aged 9 to 16 years old signed up to learn about careers in tech. Teen Tech’s mission is simple: bringing science and technology alive for young people, and inspiring them for their futures.

In the TeenTech Innovation Live: Green Economy session, Rich joined other business experts including Pippa Brown from Planet-U Energy to demonstrate what green jobs can look like in practice. This is so valuable to young people who are figuring out what their career path might look like, or who are beginning to apply for workplace apprenticeships and opportunities.

Rich began by giving an overview of what the circular economy is (using resources to their maximum capacity), and why it is important. Building on the videos we filmed for British science week and Yorkshire Circular Lab, Rich then briefly outlined Techbuyer’s circular business model: buying, refurbishing, and selling IT equipment, as well as upgrading and repairing devices.

Making circularity accessible for young people

To describe the circular economy in an engaging way, Rich used the metaphor of the circular economy as a car. If you think about the average car, it’s common for it to be used for a few hours a day, before spending the next 20 hours or so sat in a parking spot or on a driveway.

But in a circular economy, you would enable this resource to be used for as long as possible. For instance, one person could drive the car from 7am to 9am to commute to work. Then a different person would use it for food shopping, another for picking up their kids from school, another commuter between 5pm and 7pm, and then a taxi driver could take over in the evening. The result is one resource being used for pretty much the entire 24 hours – rather than being sat unused for most of the day.

Rich also explained that maintenance is an important part of the circular economy. To use a resource for as long as humanly possible, you need to look after it and upgrade where necessary. For instance, if the car begins to slow down or if a problem emerges, you could take it to a garage for repairs. Once you no longer need it or if performance has significantly slowed, you can then send it to be refurbished (and bought by another person). Once a resource cannot be maintained at a high enough level of efficiency, this is the point at which you would recycle.

The same process is true of mobile phones, laptops, and data centre equipment – which are the main types of technology that our business processes.

How can we further the circular economy?

The students watching the talk had some great questions; one of which was how to increase circularity. Rich explained that education is key: people need to understand what their options are, and that buying the greener option does not mean compromising on quality. For instance, although many people are open to buying a second-hand car, many businesses aren’t aware that IT equipment also provides the same performance as new.

“It was an absolute joy to be part this event and to hear directly from the next generation. The students had great questions and I could have spoken to them for hours! I wish that an event like this was around when I was younger.” – Rich Kenny, Group IT Director.

How is Techbuyer helping?

Whilst our core business naturally keeps resources in use for longer, we are always striving to go beyond this. Our team regularly takes part in events and roundtables, whether that’s supporting undergraduate sustainability projects at University of Leeds, advising the government on how to increase circularity, or helping schools to access secure, refurbished technology during Covid-19.

Throughout all these projects we contribute to the UN Global Goals – a movement bringing together businesses, charities, and governments to meet ambitious targets to make the world a more sustainable place.

To increase access to refurbished technology, we recently reviewed the only remanufacturing standard in the USA. Our Sustainability Lead, Astrid Wynne has also become a board member for not-for-profit organisations including Free ICT Europe, which lobbies for the right to repair and reuse IT hardware through initiatives like the Eco-Design Directive.

At the core of all this work are our people, who are passionate about making a difference and supporting a greener world. For instance, our ITAD Team Leader, Alan Fisher has been donating spare technology to IT Schools Africa to support young students without quality IT. You can see our video of one of these donations below.

Techbuyer is a sustainable IT solutions provider with its largest HQ in Harrogate, Yorkshire. With seven sites across Europe, the US and Asia Pacific, we provide servers, storage and networking, laptops, desktops and components to businesses and public sector organisations across the world. We also buy, refurbish, upgrade or repair IT devices to keep quality technology in use, and to maximise IT budgets.

If you’re looking for an IT solution, get in touch with our experienced team who will be happy to advise on your specific IT requirements.