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February 10, 2016updated 04 Sep 2016 10:22pm

British Council and TCS tackle digital skills gap with 1,000 IT internships

News: Unveiled during India’s PM UK visit last year, the scheme is first project of a wider program that aims to take up to 25,000 British young people to India by 2020.

By Joao Lima

Last night, government and private sector came together to officially launch 1,000 internships in India for UK graduates under the Generation UK-India program.

The scheme was first announced during the visit of India’s PM Narendra Modi last November, when he and PM David Cameron signed £9 billion worth of deals between the two countries. As part of the agreements, the PMs agreed that 2016 would be the UK-India Year of Education, Research and Innovation.

The internships have been arranged under a partnership between Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and the British Council (BC).

The program will give British hopefuls a year of training at TCS, where they will work at its Innovation Labs and software development centres across India.

The Rt Hon Priti Patel, Minister of State for Employment and MP, said: "Endorsed by Prime Ministers Cameron and Modi, Generation UK-India is a highly ambitious programme run by the British Council."

The Generation UK-India program aims to build collaboration, engagement and trust between the two countries, by supporting up to 25,000 young people in the UK to gain work and study experience in India by 2020.

Speaking of "exciting times for India", Patel said: "I am delighted that this year, as part of this growing programme, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) will now be providing UK students with the opportunity to undertake 12 month paid digital internships in their offices around 17 locations in India.

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"By working in India, graduates will be learning new skills from experts in business. They will build their own networks. They will develop new ideas. It will provide your students, your future employees, and our next generation with a competitive edge.

"And, as well as developing business acumen, it will also provide a full immersion into the world’s largest democracy and a rich, diverse and modern culture."

To enter the program, graduates, particularly those interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, have to apply online through the British Council website.

Applications are open until midnight on March 31, 2016, with the first graduates to fly to India during the summer.

Although the internship is paid for and those in the scheme will receive a monthly allowance of INR35,000 (£356 as of February 10), successful candidates will have to pay for their flight to India, Visa, a £300 placement fee, travel insurance, vaccinations and accommodation.

British Council CEO, Sir Ciaran Devane, said: "India is a giant economic and strategic power, with deep and broad links to the UK.

"It is vitally important in this interconnected age that we do not ignore our historical connections, but seek to embed them still further, using the power of modern technology.

"The end result of this project – and many other projects between our nations – will be enhanced cultural and economic (and personal) relations between the UK and India."

Also attending the ceremony was Shankar Narayanan, Country Head UK & Ireland, TCS, who said that emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and virtual reality are likely to enter the mainstream in the coming years, each with as much potential (if not more) to transform everyone’s lives as the advent of social media, mobile computing or Big Data.

He said: "This digital future is bringing with it major opportunities: according to the Boston Consulting Group, the UK’s Digital Economy is already the largest of the G20 nations, and it could be worth as much as £200bn per year by 2020.

"The new partnership between Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and the British Council is one example of how we are aiming to help foster the next generation of digital talent in the UK and provide British employers with the business and digital expertise they will need to succeed."

The UK has turned to India to help cut down its digital skills gap and also boost the creation of new jobs.

Last year, PM Cameron said that "India invests more in the UK than in the rest of the EU combined creating almost 8,000 new jobs here last year".

According to TCS, in 2014-15 investments from India increased by 65% making it the third largest source of foreign direct investment to the country.

Patel said: "We need to ensure that the UK remains competitive in this global digital economy. And to do that we need to invest in our young generation and ensure that they have the right skills to secure the best jobs.

"And where better for them to gain this experience than in the world’s fastest growing economy, at one of India’s biggest companies.

"Prime Minister Modi himself has an ambitious vision for India – one of inclusive, sustainable development. He wants to improve the ease of doing business to attract investment; root out corruption; invest in infrastructure; and through Skills India empower 500 million young people – with a further 1 million young Indians joining the labour market every month."


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