There’s no question we’re in the slump of all slumps as far as jobs, economic activity and general healthy work practices go. Hardest hit of course are the young fraternity, who are mostly being forced into low paying jobs or internships until ‘the market picks up’. But what happens if it doesn’t pick up? Do we sacrifice a whole generation? But there are signs that some people are thinking outside the box and trying to change the way things are done.
The new Student@Home service, started up in the Netherlands and now in the UK, offers an expert low cost IT fixit service for anything from Mac and PC connectivity problems to mobile phones and software training. The students are all IT specialists from an area local to the user, and they’re given training and are vetted to make sure they’re suitable for customer facing roles.
The scheme runs as a membership service, so users pay £2 a month (£24 a year) and then pay on a time per visit basis starting at £30 for the first hour. The service claims that most problems can be fixed in that time, but in case it can’t the student will give an itemized estimate before starting so the user can choose whether to continue. Booking is done online, and visits can be scheduled 7 days a week 9.30am to 9.30pm.
Everything about this idea sounds right, from the concept of giving IT students real life experience of working out in the field, to the satisfaction of solving the millions of tiny problems that most people have with one or other aspect of their computer set up from time to time. Most problems are too small to warrant making a visit to a computer dealer, but too annoying to ignore, so most times people have to beg time from people they know or other members of the family.
I really hope this takes off in a big way. The Dutch service now has 260 students on call, so the signs are good.