Putting people first
“Our commitment to the communities we operate in started 150 years ago, is still going strong and is as relevant today as it was back then.”
That’s the view of Roy Sharon, Head of Corporate and Social Responsibility at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Europe, who oversees the company’s comprehensive programme of giving back and building greater futures.
It is underpinned by our global commitment to sustainability and creating value for all stakeholders. Technology already plays a huge part in achieving this. It is taking an even bigger role as society advances and embraces the next wave of technological change.
“For us, it’s about building a purposeful ecosystem, where people and communities are at the centre of everything we do,” Sharon says.
This purpose and the company’s brand heritage come together under the umbrella of TCS Empowers, our flagship corporate social responsibility programme.
It focuses on empowerment through education, skilling, employment entrepreneurship and social innovation. The programme’s broad aims are — providing quality education, improving digital literacy, building skills, widening access to technology, empowering women and other marginalised groups, and engaging with local communities. These goals are supported by concrete initiatives and grassroots programmes.
In Europe, TCS is working with its partners to help achieve the 2030 targets of the European Digital Decade, including upskilling 20 million ICT Specialists by 2030 and ensuring at least 80% of the population has basic digital skills.
That matters even more against a backdrop where technology is increasingly reshaping our collective futures. It’s also paramount to address the skills shortage across Europe in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, collectively called STEM.
“It's all about career readiness and digital innovation,” says Sharon. “We’re really targeting those young people that might otherwise say, ‘I'm not smart enough for computer science’, or ‘STEM education is not for me’.”
Addressing the skills gap
According to Eurostat data, just one in five young people in Europe graduated from STEM tertiary education in 2020.
This rate is nowhere near enough to fill the vacant job roles or help move the European digital economy and agenda forward. More than three-quarters of companies in the EU say they have difficulties finding workers with the necessary skills, according to the European Commission, while only 37% of adults undertake regular training.
“We're not able to produce enough young people that are currently interested in getting higher education in STEM-related fields. And the question is why?” asks Sharon. “TCS’ goal, then, is to recruit, train, upskill and retain people into these careers as well as building a strong pipeline.”
TCS programmes directly address this education and skill gap.
Engaging students who might not ordinarily look to the tech sector for a career is one of the goals of 'go Innovate Together’ — or goIT — TCS’ digital innovation and career readiness programme. Active in 42 countries, the courses take 69% of their participants from marginalised or high-need communities and show them that a career in STEM can be accessed with a wide range of skills.
“What makes this programme quite unique is that we're able to offer real industry expertise into the curriculum,” says Sharon. “So, often, our TCS associates, or our clients will participate in the programme.”
Building civil society capacity
Expanding the capacity of civil society organisations and strengthening our clients’ societal goals also form an integral part of the strategy.
This includes our TECH4HOPE pro bono programme, where we deliver in-kind technology solutions to non-profit organisations to build their organisational capability, efficiency, and outreach. Examples include support for the Business for Peace Foundation, KidsRights Foundation and others. Our commitment also encompasses donations of IT equipment to partners across Europe.
TCS is also proud to actively promote volunteerism. Our dedicated employee volunteer programme called HOPE — Hours of Purpose by Employees — resulted in more than 2.8 million hours dedicated to local communities in the 2022-23 financial year.