West Bromwich firm plans to make students out of paper
A social enterprise business in West Bromwich has set up a new scheme which aims to turn over-sized sheets of paper into training for vulnerable adults.
Bevil Williams, MD of Repc, is hoping to build sales for paper he is supplying to businesses, in order to fund training, which will give employable skills to people with a variety of disabilities and special needs.
Mr Williams came up with the idea after being offered large quantities of A3 paper from a national retailer, who found it was not selling well in their stores and wanted to clear some of their surplus supplies to free up warehousing space.
He has arranged for a printing company to cut the sheets into A4, which is a more popular and usable size, and then reboxed it to sell to businesses, schools and organisations at about half the normal retail value.
Mr Williams now wants to establish on-going orders for the paper, and once he is confident that a regular revenue stream is in place, aims to use the money for training.
Repc, which is based in Charles Street, takes old and unwanted IT items, securely cleans them of data and prepares them for re-use by community organisations, helping ensure more people are given access to computers and online services.
The firm already trains and employs a number of people with disabilities and special needs, and Mr Williams says he is constantly looking for smarter ways to do things, which bring benefits to many.
“This scheme is perfect, as it is using something which would otherwise just be taking up room in a warehouse, gives people a very usable product at a good price, and generates funds which will ultimately provide vulnerable young adults with the means to lead productive lives, who might otherwise have struggled to ever find jobs,” he explained.
“I can’t help but see symbiosis all around me! I see things which could be done better, and people who could work together to benefit each other more – and I enjoy bringing them together!
“Repc was built on these principles – that we would recycle equipment which was no longer of use to some, wipe the data and then fix and refurbish it to provide something someone else really needs.
“We’d really like to hear from businesses, schools, charities – anyone with a regular need for our A4 paper – who’d like to set up regular orders with us. Once we have reached a certain level, we’ll then be able to use the revenue stream to fund another trainee, which would be fabulous news. The more money, the more trainees we can commit to.”
Carol Owen, managing director of Cannock-based The Marketing Room, is one business which has already begun buying its paper from repc.
“It’s a great quality product which is saving us money, and the fact that ultimately, the money will be used to train people and hopefully help them find jobs, absolutely sold it to us. I hope more businesses and organisations around the Midlands will get involved in the scheme too.”
“We’ve helped many local community groups that have struggled to survive with cuts to their funding by providing them with low cost, high quality refurbished IT equipment and support services, whilst in the process, training volunteers and disenfranchised young people into IT engineer and other work related disciplines. Some of these young people have been given jobs at Repc. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.” Bevil Williams