The UK's Employment Minister and Indian Diaspora Champion has launched 1,000 new internships for British graduates in India. The new Generation-UK India initiative aims to boost graduates' digital skills through paid internships in India.
Speaking to leading businesses and universities, Priti Patel said that the scheme will provide support for up to 25,000 young people in the UK to work and study in India by 2020. The scheme has been endorsed by Prime Ministers David Cameron and Narendra Modi and is run by the British Council, with Patel describing it as a "highly ambitious programme" to build collaboration between India and the UK.
Speaking to leading businesses and universities in the UK, Patel said: "Our young people are entering a highly competitive, and increasingly internationalised, job market. 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."
Patel said that Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) had become the latest company to join the initiative, with UK students now having the opportunity to undertake 12-month paid digital internships in 17 of their offices based around India. Patel said that this was an "incredibly exciting opportunity" for UK graduates and that the TCS internships would play a key role in the scheme.
Mentioning her visit to India in January, Patel said that Modi's election had created a sense of "confidence and excitement" among Indians and that he was looking to "improve the ease of doing business" by attracting investment in infrastructure and empowering 500 million young people as they join the labour market.
"Our relationship with India is a priority for this government," said Patel. "The TCS internship scheme will place graduates at the heart of this. Not only will it provide our students with skills and new experiences, it will also provide them with an invaluable opportunity to build their own professional and personal connections in India, and with the people of India – which I hope will lead to the business partnerships of the future."
During Modi's visit to the UK in November 2015, he and Cameron agreed to make 2016 the UK-India Year of Education, Research and Innovation. The initiative will see both countries aiming to create a professional network of academics for research and teaching between UK and India, with more UK academics coming to Indian institutions to teach courses.