26 Feb 2024
by Jonathan Rose

From Waste to Worth - HMP Hindley’s IT Recycling Workshop

Tackling Economic Inequality - Create new businesses, jobs and skills, and increase supply chain resilience and capacity.

Working consistently to help address issues in our community, tier1 has always delivered social impact, as well as circular IT asset disposition services.

In 2021, we joined forces with our existing charity partner, Antz Junction, creating a prison-based IT recycling training workshop to run alongside their employment and post-release mentoring programme.


When our client, Atos, required additional support to dispose of over 110,000 Ministry of Justice legacy assets; it was clear that the charity’s and the MOJ’s objectives seamlessly aligned; also uniting perfectly with our own values.

The MOJ were transitioning to a more sustainable ‘replace on fail’ model. With little value in complete, but faulty technology, their disposition demanded a completely different approach; an environmentally friendly ITAD solution that met operational needs but also delivered social value.

After experiencing a light bulb moment, Antz Junction and I discussed a collaborative rehabilitation social enterprise; one which meant that prison leavers gained professional skills, and importantly the confidence needed to secure employment. Supporting community reintegration, our overall aim is to prevent recidivism by reducing economic inequality, improving employability and social mobility, whilst eliminating unnecessary e-waste. Within just a few months, we had built a replica, state-of-the-art, prison IT recycling facility.

Whilst approximately 30% of the assets tier1 receives have reached the end of their usable life, this isn’t true for their components. Once data is securely erased, devices are dismantled and separated into 16 recycling waste streams.

Tackling Economic Inequality

Participants work 30-40 hours per week, just as they would outside the prison gates. Gaining practical experience of e-waste management processes, individuals develop highly transferable skills including teamwork, a strong work ethic and a positive attitude. Undertaking health, safety and quality standards training, the team wear tier1 uniforms, and must be punctual and accountable for their tools/workstations.

6-weeks before release, the Antz Junction ‘Through the Gate’ employability programme prepares prisoners for reintegration, helping leavers secure sustainable job opportunities. Whilst the men adjust to an extremely different lifestyle, personalised resettlement mentoring mitigates the temptation to return to criminal behaviours. Support might include assistance with probation, accommodation, benefits, digital connectivity, addiction, or mental health.

Community impact.

By reducing preconceptions, we drive equal opportunity, decreasing unemployment and providing a wider talent pool for local businesses. We know this first-hand, having recruited several prison leavers full-time. Greater community integration increases social mobility, and reduces criminal activity, improving the area overall.    

Fighting Climate Change.

Increasing by 2 million metric tonnes annually, globally we now produce 63.3MMT of global e-waste, every year.

Only 20% is recycled. Not only are we wastefully landfilling reusable components and precious metals, hazardous toxins leach into our soil and waterways.
To manufacture our technologies, high-emission mining processes strip finite raw materials from the earth with severe consequences for our environment, communities and wildlife populations.

By recycling perfectly serviceable components, we prevent environmentally-destructive, virgin mining and eradicate new device manufacturing and transportation emissions, accounting for 83% of a device’s lifetime CO2e.^

Driving the circular economy by stocking the reverse supply chain, recycling eliminates needless e-waste, ecosystem pollution and helps ethical businesses deliver sustainable IT solutions, including the procurement of refurbished devices.

A rehabilitation success story.

Now in its 12th year, our prison initiative is not about financial gain; the best return for us is to inspire prison leavers to genuinely contribute to society, and achieve long-term, personal success.

  • 6.2% reoffending rate since program inception, compared to the UK’s 23.1% national average (0% in the last 4 years).
  • 57% of prison leavers securing employment, surpassing the national average of 26.5%
  • 145 individuals benefited from the ANTZ UK ‘Through the Gate’ program. Transforming Lives and the Environment:
  • Over 28,360 hours of training provided by tier1 and ANTZ UK.
  • Introduction of the ETCAL Level-2 Award Preparation in IT Recycling.
  • £3.9 million in societal savings generated.


We continuously strive to improve and provide the best programme possible, delivering far-reaching, lasting social value.

We have just launched our Ofqual-regulated, ETCAL Level-2 accredited diploma. Whilst working and learning new professional skills, these individuals gain an IT Recycling qualification, building their confidence and optimism for their future.

tier1 are proud to be using waste to build self-worth; our self-funding HMP Hindley workshop empowers prison leavers, provides much-needed new starts and bolsters local communities. We’re working to build a culture of acceptance and inclusion; dispelling stigma and promoting community integration, whilst protecting our environment.

As organisations digitise at pace, our initiative will grow and grow.  We are keen to work with young offenders’ institutions in particular, as it’s imperative to stop destructive behaviours early on in life. With understanding and the right support, we can break the cycle.

*UK Government, ^Capgemini, +GMCA cost-based analysis.

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Heather Cover-Kus

Heather Cover-Kus

Head of Central Government Programme, techUK

Heather is Head of Central Government Programme at techUK, working to represent the supplier community of tech products and services to Central Government.

Prior to joining techUK in April 2022, Heather worked in the Economic Policy and Small States Section at the Commonwealth Secretariat.  She led the organisation’s FinTech programme and worked to create an enabling environment for developing countries to take advantage of the socio-economic benefits of FinTech.

Before moving to the UK, Heather worked at the Office of the Prime Minister of The Bahamas and the Central Bank of The Bahamas.

Heather holds a Graduate Diploma in Law from BPP, a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from LSE, and a BA in Economics and Sociology from Macalester College.

[email protected]

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Ellie Huckle

Ellie Huckle

Programme Manager, Central Government, techUK

Ellie joined techUK in March 2018 as a Programme Assistant to the Public Sector team and now works as a Programme Manager for the Central Government Programme.

The programme represents the supplier community of technology products and services in Central Government – in summary working to make Government a more informed buyer, increasing supplier visibility in order to improve their chances of supplying to Government Departments, and fostering better engagement between the public sector and industry. To find out more about what we do, how we do this and how you can get involved – make sure to get in touch!

Prior to joining techUK, Ellie completed Sixth Form in June 2015 and went on to work in Waitrose, moved on swiftly to walking dogs and finally, got an office job working for a small local business in North London, where she lives with her family and their two Bengal cats Kai and Nova.

When she isn’t working Ellie likes to spend time with her family and friends, her cats, and enjoys volunteering for diabetes charities. She has a keen interest in writing, escaping with a good book and expanding her knowledge watching far too many quiz shows!

[email protected]
020 7331 2015

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Annie Collings

Annie Collings

Programme Manager, Cyber Security and Central Government, techUK

Annie joined techUK as the Programme Manager for Cyber Security and Central Government in September 2023.

Prior to joining techUK, Annie worked as an Account Manager at PLMR Healthcomms, a specialist healthcare agency providing public affairs support to a wide range of medical technology clients. Annie also spent time as an Intern in an MPs constituency office and as an Intern at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed. 

Annie graduated from Nottingham Trent University, where she was an active member of the lacrosse society. 

[email protected]

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Ella Gago-Brookes

Team Assistant, Markets, techUK

Ella joined techUK in November 2023 as a Markets Team Assistant, supporting the Justice and Emergency Services, Central Government and Financial Services Programmes.  

Before joining the team, she was working at the Magistrates' Courts in legal administration and graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2022.  Ella attained an undergraduate degree in History and Politics, and a master's degree in International Relations and Security Studies, with a particular interest in studying asylum rights and gendered violence.  

In her spare time she enjoys going to the gym, watching true crime documentaries, travelling, and making her best attempts to become a better cook.  

[email protected]

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Jonathan Rose

Jonathan Rose

Founder, tier 1 Assessment Management Ltd.