Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has announced that the five members of the winning team, Team Futureproof, from the London School of Economics (LSE), have each won a four-week paid internship with the global IT consultancy and services company after winning the annual Sustainathon competition at a judging event. The internship is remote, which means students can complete it from wherever they live in the UK or Ireland.
The Sustainathon is a problem-solving competition that asks university students across the UK to address environmental challenges using new digital technologies. The competition attracted 21 entries across five different challenges, representing 12 different universities across the UK and Ireland.
The winning idea was submitted in response to a challenge set by Marks & Spencer, asking ‘How can M&S help customers make sustainable choices, influence suppliers to make sustainable decisions, and ensure the organisation remains profitable, especially when we face living cost challenges?’. Team Futureproof’s idea included the digital solution ‘SustainSparks’.
Moyra Boland, Professor of Creative Pedagogy & Dean for Global Engagement in Central and South Asia at the University of Glasgow commented: “Sustainability is rapidly growing as a sector offering exciting and creative opportunities for young people. We know the current cohort of students are highly motivated by ‘green jobs’, so the chance for them to get such hands-on experience in the professional sector over the past few weeks is brilliant. The network that TCS has across business, government, and academia means together we can inspire and educate the next generation of talent through initiatives like the Sustainathon.”
Green, high skilled jobs for young people
The Green Skills Report, release in June 2022 by Work Skills UK and Learning & Work Institute found that almost three-quarters of young people (71%) say they want to combat climate change and 62% said they are passionate about sustainability. However, they are unsure know how to turn that passion into a career.
Simultaneously, the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) revealed that the proportion of graduates in low/medium-skilled jobs has doubled over the past three decades, and over a third (36%) of UK graduates are overqualified for their roles, with a rising proportion ending up stuck in low-skilled jobs.
Gopalan Rajagopalan, TCS Head of Scotland commented: “Sustainability is in the agenda of every organisation’s board these days and we in TCS believe that digital technologies have a huge role to play as part of the solution to some of the pressing sustainability issues facing industry and society at large. We also know that the skills gap in the digital technology sector has been growing both globally and here in the UK for several years now and this mismatch of skills will impact the progress in the sustainability sector. Hence TCS is committed to providing internships, STEM mentoring and employment opportunities for those with the skills and motivation to solve real-world sustainability problems using digital technologies.”
In 2022 alone, TCS provided 40+ paid internships across technology, sales, and enabling functions in the UK and Ireland.
Tianyu Zou, one of the winners comment on behalf of Team Futureproof: “Sustainathon is such a precious opportunity for university students to come up with our innovative solution surrounding the real-world issues that companies are facing under this time of green revolution and living-cost crisis. The mentor session and masterclasses presented by TCS enabled us to tackle these challenges not just from a student or consumer’s perspective, but also from a business’ practical point of view. It’s our pleasure to participate in the internship with TCS next year to put our efforts into projects that contribute to a more sustainable future.”
More about the 2022 UK & Ireland Sustainathon
- The challenges were set by TCS’ customers including Lloyds Banking Group, Marks & Spencer’s, broadband provider Community Fibre Limited, insurance company Phoenix Group, and a combined group of local government authorities in Scotland. Students were asked to focus on digitally enabled solutions.
- The month-long programme offered expert guidance and tuition in the form of webinars, master classes and drop-in sessions as the teams competed to solve their chosen problem.
- Along with the winners, five other finalist teams came from University of Glasgow, University of York, UCL, and two teams from Cranfield University in Bedfordshire.
- Entries were also received from Durham University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Trinity College Dublin, University of Hertfordshire, University of Leeds, University of Liverpool and University of Warwick.
- The judging panel comprised of Jez Smith, Rail Data Marketplace Lead at the Rail Delivery Group, Dan Byles, Chief Commercial Officer at UnifAI Technology and Edna Ayme-Yahil, Founder of Digicomms.
1 Green Skills Report, June 2022