Stone have supplied over 1,850 personalised learning devices to students at the new Central Campus of Sandwell College in West Bromwich as part of the college’s ‘Big Deal’ incentive scheme.


Every full-time 16-18 year old student who set a good record of progress, behaviour and attendance was provided with a Samsung notebook free-of-charge to aid their learning and development during their time at Sandwell College and in their working life after graduation.


Sandwell College, one of the longest established further education colleges in the UK, opened the new £77 million Central Campus in the heart of West Bromwich in February 2012 and attracts students from across Greater Birmingham and the Black Country. The college, which used to operate at campuses in Oldbury and Smethwick, as well as West Bromwich, has now moved onto the single site at Spon Lane.


The ‘Big Deal’ scheme provides full-time 16-18 year old students with a free bus pass, free notebook, free activities and social events, and financial support to low income families. From September students had to demonstrate a good record of progress, behaviour and attendance to be eligible to receive a free notebook.


As a result, Stone delivered the Samsung notebooks throughout March and April to students via the ‘Big Deal’ scheme. Stone have enjoyed a relationship with Sandwell since 2006 and provided desktops and ICT support at the previous college campus. Stone were the chosen supplier of desktops for the two new ICT suites at the new campus after having consistently provided the best value for money to Sandwell through the Government Procurement Service (previously Buying Solutions Framework).


Afzan Matloob, Director of Information and Learning Technologies at Sandwell College comments, “We are definitely seeing an improvement in learning capability amongst students since introducing the Big Deal scheme. Students who would not have had access to this equipment or the internet at home can now use these notebooks to help them with their learning and development here at the college, at home and also after they have graduated, either at University or in the workplace. Stone has been very supportive throughout our six year partnership, offering great flexibility and value for money; this is underlined in the support Stone has provided in supplying the Samsung notebooks.”


The state-of-the-art Central Campus at Sandwell, which has been nicknamed “The Big Dipper” by the locals due to its design, combines a specialist automotive centre, beauty and hairdressing salons, computer suites, construction workshops, engineering and science laboratories, fashion and photography studios, a sports hall and a 170-seater theatre – among many other facilities.


Sandwell College caters for students aged between 16-18 as well as thousands of adult learners offering a variety of full-time, part-time and short courses – such as entry-level ‘tasters’ to Foundation Degrees, Level 5 vocational programmes and Continuous Professional Development programmes.