Stone Group - Providing digital transformation solutions to organisations across the UK.

NCG are part of a leading national college group with seven colleges all helping to connect learners and employers. NCG strives to create innovative courses and outstanding learning environments for its students to inspire excellence. With the help of Stone Group over the years, NCG has been implementing technical solutions to innovate its approach to teaching and most recently have helped to bridge the digital divide made obvious by the pandemic.

The Challenge

Chris Weeks is the Director of IT at NCG and is responsible for everything IT related, from hardware estates to development and the management of the implemented solutions. It was down to Chris and his team to find options for getting devices into the hands of their learners; whatever their situation may be.

Having worked with Stone Group for a number of years, the Director of IT approached Stone to discuss the options.

Chris states ‘Stone Group are the best supplier we’ve worked with in terms of responsiveness and the relationships I have built with Ant Mellor, Director of HE, FE and Public Sector and Darren Dodd, our Account Manager has been fantastic. It feels more like a partnership than a client to customer interaction, I can see why they rank number 1 on the NDNA Framework which is the one we use.’

When the pandemic first hit, it was vital that the NCG was able to equip its learners, especially the ones unable to afford them. Whilst there was a grant made available to some learners based on their attendance, each and every student needed a device to be able to learn from home.

Stone Group are the best supplier we’ve worked with in terms of responsiveness and the relationships I have built.

Chris Weeks, Director of IT at NCG

How Stone Helped

Chris described the process with Stone as ‘slick, nice and easy and a relaxed procurement of the required equipment’.

Stone worked with Chris on supplying the Get Your Tech scheme for students at NCG, selecting an entry-level, mid-range and then a high spec so that students had a range of devices to choose from alongside a selection of peripherals which they could purchase from their GetYourTech student store. As well as the site being easy to use, students also benefitted from the reduced NDNA framework prices for devices. In addition, Stone accommodated a College Bursary Voucher Scheme, where NCG converted bursary into a ‘GYT Discount Voucher’ which can be used at the checkout by the Student to get money off their device.

Stone Group’s Get Your Tech solution helped NCG to bridge the gap of the digital divide when the pandemic hit, by offering a range of devices on the Get Your Tech scheme that were all in stock to avoid any delays in delivery. This approach helped students to set up online learning quickly, and all devices are covered by a standard 3 years Warranty. The scheme provided options for students in an uncertain time and has continued to do so. NCG says that the scheme has opened their eyes to what else they can do for their learners outside of the pandemic and the added bonus was that the college could take a ‘hands-off’ approach as the supply of the devices and the support was provided directly by Stone.

‘This scheme highlights how good Stone Group have been as a supplier, we came to Stone with several questions and Stone provided both answers and options – no matter what is happening Stone has supported us in the IT challenges we face.’ Chris says.

What the Future Holds

Whilst there have been capital allocation challenges for the College Group, Stone has provided cost-effective options which is why in the next few years, Chris has plans to work with Stone Group again on refreshing and updating their IT estate.

If you want to find out more about our Get Your Tech scheme, then contact us today.

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