At TCS, we are passionate about promoting digital skills and have created the award winning IT Futures programme to help address the deficit of UK STEM students. The IT Futures programme draws on the expertise and enthusiasm of our own  associates, to engage with young people and give them a better idea of how digital skills can help them in their careers. So it’s a great pleasure to see IT Futures awarded the Best Education Project at the National CSR Awards 2016 earlier this week.

As part of the programme, TCS recently attended the Big Bang Fair, a celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people. As a sponsor of the event, we’re focusing on getting smarter and more imaginative about reaching out to young people, who are often desperate to get their hands on technology. This year we had a multi-coloured sandpit with a life of its own and a robot Ferris wheel you can build from scratch and control with your phone.

Attractions like these saw thousands of young people trying their hand at this year’s TCS challenges. Our stand’s augmented reality sandbox, devised by our graduate Cameron Hargreaves, used a regular Xbox Kinect camera to scan the surface and infra-red beams to calculate how far each section of sand was from the sensor. This information was fed into a computer running specialist software that used a ‘depth map’ to calculate how contour lines should look, enabling young people to visualise how these lines are useful in the geographical sciences.

Since its inception, IT Futures has reached over 51,000 children in the UK. What’s more, 2016 will see the first wave of UK graduates travelling to India as part of our partnership with the British Council’s GenUK programme, designed to strengthen ties between the UK and the world’s fastest growing economy. These graduate interns will spend a year working and training in TCS offices across India to learn the skills essential for a career in IT; skills which are desperately needed by the UK to grow in this digital economy.

The UK must embed digital and IT skills at every level of education if it is to develop a workforce who will succeed in the global digital economy. Young people need to see what a rewarding and exciting career opportunity STEM subjects can provide. If you would like to find out more about our IT Futures initiative, GenUK or a career with TCS, please get in touch.