Thursday, 06 November 2014 13:39

WorkVentures launches SafetyNet low-cost tech support

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Windows users can now get low-cost phone support from a Sydney-based social enterprise.

The widespread use of computers in homes around Australia has spurred growth in tech support services aimed at the domestic market, because not everyone has a tame techie in their household or among their close friends.

That's all well and good, but what happens if the minimum fee blows your budget? We've seen them in the $90-100 range, though there probably are some lower-cost services.

Social enterprise WorkVentures has previously operated programs to refurbish ex-government computers for supply to low income households and to deliver basic IT skills training to refugees and migrants, and is now moving into low-cost tech support for Windows users.

The SafetyNet service is operated from WorkVentures' Mascot (Sydney) premises, and is staffed by previously unemployed young trainees supported by senior technicians.

"SafetyNet is designed for anyone who needs help with their home computers, ensuring the program will deliver benefits for the broader Australian community," said Linda Graham-McCann, who was appointed CEO of WorkVentures in May.

She was closely involved with WorkVentures during the 80s, chairing its Sydney information technology centre advisory board from 1985 to 1988. At that time she was managing director of Microsoft Australia.

"Many support services are too expensive for pensioners and low income earners," said Graham-McCann.

But SafetyNet's charges start at $19 for Centrelink or Veterans' Affairs cardholders and $25 for the general public.

Subscriptions are also available, offering unlimited access for a joining fee of $19 plus $9.90 a month ($25 plus $11.90 a month for the general public).

"People living on low incomes can't afford to pay a technician $100 or more just to come and look at a computer," she said.

"If a WorkVentures IT trainee can solve a customer's problem over the phone for a fraction of the market cost, this puts assistance within their reach."

The service is available on 1800 112 205 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday (Sydney time).

WorkVentures trainees obtain nationally recognised qualifications while gaining paid work experience, the company said.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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