This generation – more than any generation before – is facing a future of work that is largely un-imagined. Over the next several years, the job market will experience major changes, and the education sector needs to equip youth with relevant skills – even though we still don’t know that the jobs of the future will look like.

At the IdentityNORTH Annual Summit in June, Antoinette Ellis, Corporate Social Responsibility Program Specialist, Tata Consultancy Services, shared how Tata Consulting is working to prepare young people across Canada for the workforce of the future.

Starting with STEM

“There is a problem with STEM,” said Ellis, explaining why science education is a priority for Tata. “A lot of kids these days are not choosing enough STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) courses. It is said by 2020, there will be a million jobs available that require STEM, but there will not be enough people to fill them.

Despite schools placing significant emphasis on STEM, there still seems to be a lack of interest, especially in technology and engineering, said a study from Microsoft, in partnership with KRC Research.

“The reasons range from peer pressure, to a lack of role models and support from parents as well as teachers, to a general misperception of what STEM careers look like in the real world,” the study noted.

Girls avoid STEM fields because of the stereotype that “it’s for boys”, said another survey.

“How can we spark their curiosity?” Ellis asked. “How can we demystify computer science?”

Antoinette Ellis discusses STEM education at IdentityNORTH 2018


Seeking to provide youth with hands-on STEM experience, Tata Consulting has partnered with the Toronto District School Board, Skills Ontario and others to deliver goIT – a STEM program where Grade 8 and 9 students are asked to take on robotics and app-building projects.

“goIT is free. Because not all schools can afford a robotics program and not a lot of parents can afford after-school programs for their kids revolving around STEM,” added Ellis.

In Canada, over 6000 students have benefitted from the program.

Tata volunteers help facilitators from the schools deliver a program that encourages kids to have fun with STEM and try ambitious projects. They also create awareness about computer science careers.

“All of the sudden, kids are talking to a mentor who they can relate to, who they can talk to to understand what different routes they can take to get where they need to,” said Ellis.

Ellis encouraged the audience to help encourage young people to pursue STEM careers.

“How can we use digital identity for social good?” asked Ellis. “How can you share your expertise with students and make sure that these seats are filled with them in the next couple years?”

For more details on the IdentityNORTH 2018 Annual Summit sessions, including ‘Leadership and Ingenuity: TCS and Toronto District School Board work together in public-private partnerships to prepare Canadian Youth with the latest technology skills,’ join our community mailing list to view the full Conference Report.

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2019-03-11T19:08:49+00:00September 12th, 2018|Categories: Articles|