Tata Consultancy Services’ goIT innovation provides equal learning opportunities to students by motivating and developing skills needed to succeed in a STEM-related field. They work to provide technology and employee knowledge to primary educators and students to achieve this goal. Curriculums encourage students to leverage today’s technology such as program coding to create solutions that meet one of UN SDGs.
By doing so, TCS benefits from a growing available talent pool, and communities benefit from the increased number of educated students that contribute to society.
York University- Schulich School of Business
First launched in 2009, Cincinnati, the goIT Student Technology Awareness program aims to develop digital fluency and problem-solving skills needed to motivate students to pursue careers in the STEM fields.
The program offers (free of charge) workshops, hands-on technology education, and educator partner training to middle and high school students. Through the program, students are asked to create solutions that positively impact their local community or helps to achieve one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
TCS was the first to develop and launch a Digital Innovations Lab that provides a comprehensive curriculum and equips students with tools to develops digital fluency. During the six-week course, student teams are paired with an employee at TCS to gain exposure to the fundamentals of product development. This helps to"empower kids to come up with decisions that show that we are actually listening".
With an emphasis on programming, TCS provides lessons on how to use relevant programs in the current workplace. For instance, given the popular use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in industries to analyze and visualize the mass quantity of data on maps, TCS is leveraging Micro Bits (a small programmable computer) to develop fun curriculums to allow students to get hands-on experience with GIS. Additionally, given the flexibility of the Micro Bits, TCS is developing curriculum for systems and technology that are foreseeably relevant in the programming field such as Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.
Students at a Toronto middle school created an app that helps other students learn outside of the classroom.
Today, there continues to be a growing number of positions in the IT sector that needs to be filled. As a business that heavily relies on the knowledge and the work of its employees, TCS felt the pressure of having to provide the best solutions to their clients. With an expected 4.4 million jobs that will require IT skills by 2024 (U.S Bureau of labour statistics), even today there lacks the supply of students graduating with IT specializations.
To find answers for the reasoning behind the limited students interested in pursuing a career in STEM-related fields, TCS evaluated education curriculum in most public schools. They found that many primary schools have not integrated coding as part of the curriculum which may explain why so many high school students felt intimidated by STEM studies as a part of their post-secondary education.
TCS partnered with the Toronto District School Board to offer goIT programs to many of their primary and secondary schools to inspire future generations to embrace the prospect of STEM studies. In the interview, Antoinette Ellis, CSR Manager, stated that the aim of the program was to be "More than just a business, but forming a partnership and collaborate".
Measuring the impact of such innovation becomes a challenge due to two reasons; (1) the time factor, and (2) privacy-related issues. However, this innovation clearly provides a solution in providing equal educational rights across North America. By providing free learning opportunities to spark interest and develop digital fluency, goIT is helping underprivileged students to gain the same level of education as their better-off peers.
The short-term impact is difficult to measure due to the time gap that exists from the initial introduction of goIT to students in grade 8/9 to those students choosing to pursue post-secondary studies in a STEM field. Hence, it serves more as volunteering projects that address the needs of communities in which TCS operates. Leveraging their core competencies, TCS is capable of supporting its stakeholders.
A long-term scope provides a better understanding of the positive impacts TCs has generated through their innovation. Since 2009 (the start of the initiative) to 2019, goIT has engaged over 25,000 students across 100 schools. In addition, the program has increased the number of female students interested in a predominately male-dominated industry with a total of 94% of students stating that they realized a potential interest in a STEM career.
Certainly, this innovation aims to secure the long-term viability and success of TCS and the technology consulting industry as a whole. As a leader in the business, TCS wants to grow its talent pool in an industry where the number of graduating students interested in this field is decreasing. By encouraging the number of potential candidates, TCS benefits from diversifying and growing their employee talents through greater candidate competition. Additionally, already familiar with the culture and mentors at TCS, students motivated to study STEM in post-secondary schools would strongly consider TCS as their target employer. Not only does this enhance the image of the company but it reduces costs related to talent acquisition and reducing employee turnover.
For current employees, this initiative helps to align their personal goals with the business practices of TCS. The investment of time and resources into projects such as goIT signals the level of commitment and positive impact to relevant communities. As stakeholders themselves, employees are enabled with opportunities to make personal impacts on their community through volunteering and providing mentorship. This kind of employee sentiment allows TCS to be recognized as an employer of choice in North America, to continue to provide mutually beneficial relationships with their employees.
TCS’s goIT initiative benefits society by providing a missing component to today’s education practice that is accessible to all regardless of race, gender and family income. This motivates future generations to gain interest in the future world and equips them with tools and resources to succeed. When asked about the benefits of goIT’s innovation on society, Antoinette responded by saying that “the goal was to see how we can have an impact on our future leaders [by helping students meet today’s competitive educational standards]. As technology evolves, so does the program”.
Additionally, integrating assignments where students are encouraged to create solutions for one of UN SDG fosters sustainable innovation. By leveraging technology for this purpose not only benefits society as a whole but also increases the number of educated workers to positively impact communities on a larger level.
Antoinette Ellis, Corpoerate Social Responsibility Manager, Canada
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Toronto, Ontario, CA
Business Website: https://www.tcs.com
Year Founded: 1968
Number of Employees: 10000+
Tata Consultancy Services is a leader in the digital, IT services, and business solutions with over 225 million customers across 11 countries.
As a business with global impact, the company has made considerable strides to bring benefit to their customers, industries and stakeholders.