TCS and TD Bank Bring Virtual goIT to Skills Ontario Students

 
Picture

TCS and TD Bank bring virtual goIT to 170+ Skills Ontario students over the summer.

During COVID shutdowns, Skills Ontario offered 170+ students the opportunity to virtually participate in goIT from the safety of their own homes.

Founded in 1989, Skill Ontario, which is part of the larger organization, Skills Canada, has been on a mission to champion and stimulate the development of world-class technological and employability skills in Ontario youth. The organization aims to equip students with the necessary skills to thrive in a 21st century workforce, including but not limited to technology skills. Their mission, which aligns perfectly to TCS’s flagship education program, goIT, has led to a 5-year partnership that has impacted over 1000 students. 

Kenman Huynh, a program facilitator, said “With the increasing interest in the technology sector amongst younger students and the interconnectedness of the technology and skilled trades sector, now would be a great time to look into learning new skills that could allow you to work in a sector of your preference and integrate technology into your workplace.”

Amidst plans for a 5th summer of engagement, the COVID-19 outbreak put the entire world on lockdown, and TCS and Skills Ontario had to adjust their plans for programming. In order to continue to bring goIT to students, TCS reimagined the program in way that would allow the entire program to be run from the safety of students’ homes without compromising the integrity of the experience.

TCS’s flagship STEM education program, goIT, aims to inspire students who are historically underrepresented in technology to pursue careers in the industry. Over the course of 12-24 hours, after understanding the importance of computer science and solving problems using empathy, students ideate digital innovations that solve or address an issue aligning to one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). After prototyping their innovations, students pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. Additionally, TCS and client associates act as mentors throughout students’ journey to both provide feedback on their ideas and act as a technology professional role model.

To elevate the experience, TCS partnered with TD Bank to provide 63 mentors to students throughout 7 weeks of programming. “It is a great opportunity and experience, not only do you get a chance to impart your knowledge on the younger generation – depending on the role you play but you also learn so much from them as well. I know I do each time I've participated in this program,” said Ebuka Uduezue, Intake Manager at TD Bank.

For this program, students were tasked with creating apps that would solve issues in their communities related to the SDGs. Each week, a new group of students would be greeted with a new guest speaker, and culminate student presentations, judged by TCSers and TD bank volunteers. Throughout the program, TCSers and TD associates would also provide feedback on students’ app ideas.

Some of the student ideas that stood out were:

  • Mind Matters – an app aiming to help people suffering from mental health issues and people wanting to learn more about them
  • Spoiler Alert – an app that lets you know when your food has expired
  • GreenEarth – an app that motivates people to clean pollution in their community

Week over week, TD Bank associates were amazed at what students were capable of producing, especially in a virtual environment. Salima Jessani, a portfolio director of TD Bank said, “TD Employees got to see TD's giving culture in action and experience how we partner with other organizations to deliver value in our communities. goIT showcases how TCS is committed to improve the lives of the community in which they do business.  It shows that TCS like TD behave in a socially responsible way.”