Jenny Monroe speaks to Andrew McAllister project development executive

Andrew McAllister, 26, is a project development executive for Lisburn computer firm Ignite IT which is based on the Ballinderry Road. He is currently involved in a computer refurbishing project The “Make IT Green” scheme has been developed in conjunction with “Rethink Waste,” the DoE scheme. Andrew studied economics and worked in the retail sector before taking up his current post.

I arrive at work at 8.45am and will start to go through any emails and phone records that have been left for me and I will make a list of who I need to reply to.

I am currently involved in the Make IT Green project which involves the refurbishing of old computers which we then refurbish and make available to lower income families and charities. Many businesses have computer systems that they no longer need. Some firms will consider sending their old computers off to be recycled. Of course, recycling companies will charge them for this, and they still have the problem of dealing with the data that has accumulated on the hard drive.

When computers are sent for recycling they end up becoming something else! However, by donating your computer for refurbishing, you not only keep your old computer out of landfill, but you maximise its life span by allowing us to give it a second life in a new home. With a new operating system provided by Microsoft, upgraded memory and a full Portable Appliance Test it can be made available to charities, communities, schools or to families on a low income.

I spend my time contacting not for profit groups and tell them about our project and see if they are interested and will tell them how we can help. I also spend a lot of time liaising with local councils and politicians trying to gain commitment from bigger bodies and companies

I explain to them that we will take away their equipment free of charge and we will forensically wipe the hard drives using accredited software so that it will be impossible for anyone to ever retrieve the information that was on it. We can provide the person or firm with a certificate to that effect if required. Not only that, our technicians can carry out this procedure in the persons office if requested before the equipment even leaves the premises. You therefore have solved the problem of knowing what to do with your computer as well as knowing your data has been securely deleted.

Throughout the day I will take calls from people who wish to donate their computers and I will discuss the process with them. If someone is donating one computer and are happy for us to delete their data in our workshop we will arrange for our courier to collect their computer free of charge, at a time convenient to them or they can take the computer to a designated collection point.

Each year more than 1 million tonnes of unwanted IT equipment unnecessarily finds its way onto landfill sites in the UK. Many more computers are stored or hoarded in offices and homes, with people afraid to dispose of them due to the threat of the theft of personal and private data. My aim is to save at least ten tonnes from Northern Ireland’s landfill sites by offering you the opportunity to either donate your old computers or refurbish them to extend their lifespan. The donated computers are then made available to those who perhaps simply cannot afford the luxury of buying a new computer. Our refurbished ones come with a guarantee and work just as well as a new one!

We have been working closely with schools and community groups helping them to avail of this wonderful opportunity which has been received well and people are delighted with the opportunity to receive a computer.

We are now seeking to engage with companies who might like to consider supporting our project.

My job isn’t 9am -5pm everyday as often I am out at events in the evening.

I love the variety, I really enjoy my work as it can be very rewarding and it really interests me.