What is Youth Intern Story

In a recent article published by Unicef as part of their ‘Dare to Dream’ campaign, Jose Alba detailed the importance of hiring young people. According to him, the benefits of hiring youth range from bringing a “fresh perspective and a different way of thinking to your business” to a “natural affinity for tech and the ability to apply and understand different technologies quickly.”

For the reasons he listed and many more, we have always believed in realizing the potential of our youth. We accomplish this goal by providing paid work experience to 55 interns per year for youth aged 16-30.

We not only understand the value that young people bring to our company but also the immeasurable value of real work experience starting from a young age. We accomplish this goal by providing paid work experience to 55 interns per year for youth aged 16-30.

For a better understanding of the type of experience youth interns gain at RCT, we asked Alexander Oliver a few questions about his time as an intern with us. Prior to working for RCT, Alexander was active in the Canadian entertainment industry as a stage and film actor finding roles performing with the Thousand Islands Playhouse and with the Guild Festival Theatre in Toronto.

How has the youth internship program at RCT empowered you to succeed?
The opportunity has provided on-the-job work experience that has helped me develop the skills and training that I use every day in my current position. As a youth intern, I was able to use my experience as a Content Creator to help realize many different marketing strategies for the Community Engagement Leads. The responsibility of playing a key role in developing touch-point email campaigns gave me confidence in my work in a professional setting. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity RCT provided me as a Sales and Marketing Intern.
Did the youth internship program at RCT allow you to explore different areas of the company? If so, how?
During my contract as an intern, I was able to take part in many important projects including; the St. Lawrence Market Neighborhood Association’s reMarket, which acted as an eRound Up for technology donations; Microsoft’s Surface Tablet donation to First Nation Communities in Northern Ontario, and a refresh of RCT’s online presence. During my contract, I was offered a full-time position with the Sales and Marketing team, which I very eagerly accepted.
What do you enjoy most about working at RCT?
Truly, the greatest thing about working at RCT is being part of an answer to a problem that faces more Ontarians than ever; the growing digital divide. There is a great demand for low-cost computer technology as schools, workplaces, and other essential services (such as counselling, doctor appointments, and even legal proceedings), have all found a place online. Helping others access technology while working alongside an extremely dedicated and compassionate team has been a very rewarding experience.

 Together, WE make an IMPACT!

Celebrating a Milestone in Northern Ontario
November 6, 2021

The Wunnumin Lake First Nation recently celebrated the unprecedented success of a local convenience store that surpassed 1 million dollars in sales over the course of 10 months. During their celebration event, computers they received from us, in partnership with Microsoft Canada, were distributed to a number of lucky children, to help with their schooling. 

The community benefiting from the computers is one of the most isolated and overlooked in Ontario. With Chief Sam Mamakwa of the Wunnumin Lake First Nation saying, “Too often, we are forgotten.” And continuing with, “Many expect us to stand up and find jobs. However, we often don’t have the equipment or software to even get the right training.”

Wunnummin Lake Lake First Nation is located at the centre of the Ring of Fire mining development in Ontario’s far north.

On August 24th-25th, 2021, the St.LawrenceNeighbourhood Association Waste Reduction Group (SLNA) hosted a donation event called REmarket. The event focused on the 6R’s “REduceREuseREpairREpurposeREcycleREthink,” says Nancy Fung, SLNA board member and REmarket event coordinator. The 6R’s update the well-known 3R’s of recycling to focus more on reusing old items rather than disposing of them.   

The two days were a great success thanks to a motivated team of collaborators, including Renewed Computer Technology (RCT), The Salvation Army, Charlie’s Freewheels, Repair Café Toronto, and Home First. 

During the two-day event, the Salvation Army received 45 skids of donations, RCT received six skids of technology donations, and Home First received one skid of donations for homeless shelters. While Charlie’s Freewheels assisted many with tuning up their bikes, and Repair Café Toronto helped others breathe new life into broken home appliances.   

Fern, an employee at Repair Café, said, “all our volunteers are really happy to be fixing again,” after a prolonged hiatus due to COVID-19. And employees from Charlie’s Freewheels had the opportunity to speak with St. Lawrence community members about their youth programming, which includes LAB Grads, a program created to teach people the basics of fixing bicycles.  

Knowing how to repurpose old or damaged items is critical to fostering better environmental practices. Events like REmarket create opportunities for community driven environmental stewardship, which unburdens a stressed landfill system and keeps potentially hazardous waste out of our environment.  

 Behind the scenes, RCT helped organize the pickup and delivery of skids and created a brand and promotional materials for the event.  

 “[The success of REmarket] is attributed to partners such as RCT who assisted us from logo/poster design and logistics to helping out with donation intake on the actual days. They are a wonderful team to work with, and we look forward to future collaborations,” says Nancy Fung.  

 “The members of the SLNA recognize that REmarket has the potential to be a mainstay in their community, so everyone was really motivated to create good work. As a designer that made my job easy,” says Daniel Melnyk, the design lead on the project, who works full time at RCT under their youth intern program.  

 The SLNA hopes to expand REmarket into a community staple where people can donate, and repair used items at their convenience.  

7 First Nation Communities in Northern Ontario receive Microsoft Surfaces

June 9, 2021

This week, 7 northern and remote First Nation Communities will be receiving Microsoft Surfaces, as part of a partnership between RCT and Microsoft Canada, to assist their economic and educational development programs.   

Working with our contact Brian Walmark, located in Thunderbay, Brian helped us identified 7 First Nations Communities that are in need of computer technology to expand their economic and educational development programs.   

The First Nation Communities we are currently working with are:  

The First Nation Communities we are currently working with are:

  • Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services – Matawa First Nations Management
  • Deer Lake First Nation
  • Fort William First Nation
  • Wunnummin Lake Lake First Nation
  • Mishkeegogamang First Nation
  • Muskrat Dam First Nations
  • Fort Severn First Nations.

One of these communities, Fort Severn, received a shipment of 15 Microsoft Surfaces to replace critically old computers used in their computer literacy program and to be used in their new call centre – a Cree-English call centre that will focus on assisting business-to-business connections between Northern Ontario and Southern Ontario. Forst Severn is the northernmost permanent settlement in Ontario, sharing its traditional lands with some of Ontario’s last remaining Polar bear population.

As a leader in community-based training, Fort Severn is the first First Nation to host community training in computer literacy, trades, and heavy equipment operation, preparing members of their community to assume jobs normally done by outside contractors. The community has taken great strides in leading remote northern communities in training and computer literacy, and is a pioneer in digital education and IP-based telemedicine.

“With Microsoft Surfaces, our youth will have the same tools as other young people in the province. All we have ever asked for is the opportunity to compete. These donated computers will help to level the playing field,” – Chief Paul Burke

The Senior’s Computer Lab Project, in Niagara Region, 2020

This year, Renewed Computer Technology (RCT) partnered with Cyber-Senoirs and the Senior’s Computer Lab Project to help deliver computer skills training for seniors at various locations across the region. RCT’s Computer for Schools+ (CFS+) program supported the creation of 6 labs by distributing computers to each location while also distributing over 100 laptops to seniors in Niagara Regional Housing locations.

Training for seniors is now provided online with one-on-one instruction and daily webinar classes with youth mentors, all held on a virtual platform during the pandemic through the Cyber-Seniors partnership. For many of the seniors at these Niagara locations, access to computer resources has traditionally been very limited.

RCT’s computers helped to create a learning environment for the seniors and youth involved and made it possible for many individuals to own their own laptop or desktop computer, items which used to be financially out of reach for many. The Cyber Seniors’ youth mentors also had the added benefit of learning job skills through the Cyber-Seniors Mentor Training Program, a certificate program which helped them with their career goals while also helping seniors become more comfortable using their devices.

This reverse mentoring program not only individualizes the learning process for the seniors with their devices, but it also expands community engagement through a mutual learning relationship from the friendship and exchange of knowledge that results. RCT’s computers are also being used by the seniors to connect to their families/surrounding community and for online social activities such as online “movie nights”, community meets and “trivia nights” via Zoom.

Seniors use their laptops to take part in webinars and presentations as learning opportunities as well as to find and use resources, many of which are only available online.

“The ability for seniors to own their own devices has been life changing as these computers provide a link to many free resources and access to online services such as license renewal, online banking, and other government services that are inaccessible for those with limited mobility or transportation options. The computers have been the key to improving their quality of life allowing them to connect to and be with friends and family especially during the isolation resulting from the pandemic. They’ve made it possible for seniors to retain a sense of self-reliance and independence as their confidence grows along with their tech skill abilities” – Nancy Siciliana, Niagara Region Program Manager for Cyber-Seniors.


Delivering computers to Syrian Families

Renewed Computer Technology (RCT) is pleased to share that the Honourable Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development has announced Canada’s investment to provide computers for Syrian Families as part of the National #WelcomeRefugees initiative through Computers for Success Canada (CFSC).

Through Computers for Success Canada (CFSC), RCT will provide a free refurbished laptop to Syrian Families landing in Ontario until December 31st 2016 on a first come first served basis. RCT, operating the Computers for Schools program in Ontario, has already begun to distribute laptops across the province by partnering with refugee resettlement organizations and School Boards who work directly with Syrian Families.

“RCT has already forged 9 partnerships and over 500 laptops are committed to Syrian Families that have arrived in Canada”, said Shauna L. McCaffrey, RCT’s Executive Director. “We are hoping to empower each family as they arrive by equipping them with pre-loaded digital modules such as job search, interviews tips as well as technical skills for setting up a wireless network or learning the software provided on their laptop.”

RCT will continue to provide support with a one year limited parts and labour depot warranty from the date the laptop is received by the family. Each computer will come loaded with Windows Operating System, Microsoft Office Suite and skill development software to equip them with everything they need to utilize the computer to its full potential.

RCT is dedicated to providing affordable computers in communities across Ontario to empower all low-income learners through its RCTech OUTREACH program. For over 20 years RCT has been operating the Computers for Schools program, using donations and government funding to refurbish, reuse, and recycle technology. RCT’s primary mission is to make technology accessible to students, educators, and not-for-profit organizations.

In addition, CFSC-OPEC has partnered with several organizations to bundle complementary services, resulting in a more robust offering for resettling refugees:

  • The Canada Research Chair in Sociocultural Issues of Digital Technologies in Education is providing expertise in program design.
  • CIBC is offering a low-cost banking package for new Canadians.
  • CN, a long-standing ISED partner, is providing cartage for donated computers across the country.
  • Facebook is offering MediaSmarts online safety information in Arabic.
  • Microsoft is donating Windows and Office licences for every computer destined for Syrian refugee households from coast to coast.

For more information on how to receive computers through the #WelcomeRefugees project and for a complete list of Frequently Asked Questions please visit Initiatives.

Partners: ISED, CFSC, CFS, Facebook, Microsoft, and CultureLink gather to congratulate family

MP Ahmed Hussen, Hon. Minister Bains, Ibrahim Absiye, S McCaffrey, MP Jowhari, Toby Harper-Merrit

Hon. Minister Navdeep Bains announces $1.25M investment

Hon. Minister Bains delivers laptop to Syrian Family

RCT’s #WelcomeRefugees Project Team with Hon.Minister Bains

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