How TCS Turned Work Experience on Its Head

Tata Consultancy Services’ ‘Digital Explorers’ aims to turn conventional work experience programmes on their head. In 2019, 5,000 diverse, talented 12-18 year olds from disadvantaged communities were able to gain hands-on industry experience and upskilling to take their next career steps.

The week steps away from ‘classroom learning’ and allows for an intensive and serious experience of work. Students learn core IT skills though real-world projects, meet industry professionals, explore future tech trends and network with entrepreneurs. Therefore, they leave feeling equipped with confidence and ability, while receiving accreditation to show future employers.

Why run this work experience programme?

TCS are motivated by the STEM skills gap and lack of social mobility. By 2025, it’s forecast that we’ll need to increase tech hires by approximately 28%, to 1.65m. Students who have more than four connections with employers before leaving school are said to be 86% less likely to not be in education, employment or training. In addition, the IT industry also has a chronic lack of female talent, with just 16%, which has remained unchanged since 2009. Government policy also demands more meaningful work experiences from employers. TCS responded by providing an intensity of learning that few placements can match while addressing social mobility and inclusion.

Work experience

What did success look like?

  • 4200 young people were able to participate in authentic experience of work with real impact.
  • Digital Explorers took place in London, Birmingham, Peterborough, Manchester, Bristol and Liverpool in 2019, reaching students from over 150 schools.

What was successful for both young people and the employer?

It is well known that those from disadvantaged communities lack social networks and therefore miss out on work experience. Digital Explorers targets such communities by working with MyKindaFuture’s partner schools. They identify young people with a desire to succeed but who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity. TCS’ 2019 events had 66% of BAME students attending, with 41% female attendance. They also engaged with students who have additional needs, including young people with physical and mental disabilities, plus learning difficulties.

Outcomes

Through this program, TCS saw the following results:

  • Improved attitudes – in 2019, 77% of students said as a result of the events they were more likely to consider a role in technology or digital.
  • Employability – Upskilling students helps them to transition more smoothly into the working world. 94% agreed that the skills learned will be useful for their future careers.
  • Qualifications – Many students gained Silver Level Industrial Cadets Awards.
  • Experience and involvement – Development of digital insight, confidence, employability & interpersonal skills, teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.