The PC retailer behind a series of free system building workshops for children and parents is looking to grow the events nationwide.
The Young System Builders workshops teach kids and their parents how to build a computer. They are free to attend and are held by PCs Made Simple at the Streetwise centre in Poole.
After each workshop – which lasts around three hours – participants have the option to buy their finished PC for £99.
£59 of each sale goes to charity, with the remaining money being used to replace the parts used.
PCs Made Simple founder Clifford Johnson (pictured) had the idea of hosting the workshops after his children – and his customers’ kids – expressed an interest in building PCs.
He hopes the events – billed as ‘LEGO for adults’ – will help to close the IT skills gap and make sure children understand how to repair computers in the future.
"The one thing that scared me is both of my youngest two do programming at school, but they never learn about the bare metal," Johnson told PCR.
"We’re going to have two or three generations of people that can program computers like gods, but can’t fix them or build them. There’s a big, big gap in the engineering industry in the UK.
"These workshops are brilliant, they’re the one thing I enjoy more than anything at the moment. Being thanked for just passing on some knowledge is great. We’ve had some autistic kids in the workshops who would never have dreamed of doing anything like this."
Now he wants to expand the events, attract sponsors and partner with other retailers to make Young System Builders go national.
"I’ve had interest from a few companies to sponsor the event," Johnson added. "I’d love sponsorship and for companies to come along and hold our hands for this kind of thing. They can have their banners up everywhere and whenever we share photos, their sponsorship would be there.
"We would also partner with other retailers to create a national network. Then we could look at introducing more complex courses like tech repair or gaming courses. For gaming you’d need at least a £1,500 rig.
"What’s stopped us going on from here is where does the warranty lie. If they purchase the components themselves, they’re under warranty from us. But what about the build itself? What if there’s electrostatic discharge and a RAM issue – is the warranty liability with us or them? That’s the hard stumbling block.
"But there is massive potential there."