Thomson Reuters (TR) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have partnered to upskill TR’s female workforce and their cloud capabilities in India.
This partnership dates back to 2021, when the Indian branch of internal mentoring group [email protected] Reuters ([email protected]) partnered with Nuvola Academy, a cloud enablement program purpose-built for employees at TR, to build a cloud training program tailored specifically toward women from the company’s Indian workforce.
According to Christine Hoffman, Human Resources Business Partner at Thomson Reuters, Nuvola Academy was created to bring training offerings and upskilling opportunities to TR’s technologists.
“It focuses on all cloud initiatives and all cloud training… by partnering with the two together, we were able to connect the certification piece with the India initiative, so that we could actually offer the employees the opportunity to get certified in different AWS skill sets.”
TR enlisted the AWS Skills Guild to help the organization build a personalized cloud training program to speed up organization-wide cloud fluency and outcomes by providing a framework and set of courses for tech-curious employees to build cloud skills.
Hoffman added that the company looked specifically at India to focus on growing tech talent opportunities for women. “We wanted to start in a location where we have a large population and are really committed to helping them understand their career path. When we look at the population in India, we really want to grow and focus on that parity of our female to male talent,” she explained.
A 2019 study called Universum India Talent Survey 2019 found that the gender gap in the Engineering and the IT sector is widening. Only 26 percent of female students are represented in engineering, while the male representation in engineering stood at 74 per cent, nearly three times that of women. In addition, according to this year’s Women in Tech report by AIM Research, the tech industry in India has a total of 4.6 million employees, of which only 1.3 million (29 per cent) are women.
This program helps address these gaps.
The program was spearheaded by Neha Mahajan, a nine-year veteran of Thomson Reuters’s Indian technology hub. When Mahajan did her technology training in India, women in the field were a rarity and formal training was hard to come by, a case study written by AWS reported. Mahajan noted that many women who succeeded in technology were largely self-taught.
“I’ve worked on AWS for a long time, but I didn’t have a foundational AWS Certification,” she said. “I realized there were probably many more women like me out there who could benefit from formal training and certification.”
Mahajan was able to pitch the idea of a women-focused cloud training cohort to her colleagues in [email protected] They were then able create a group which offered an introductory Cloud 101 and Tech Essentials course for 30 employees, with no prerequisites. It was open exclusively to women, and prepared learners for the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification.
In addition, two 25-learner cohorts in two other tracks, targeting AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate and AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional certifications were created.
According to members of the [email protected], 683 people signed up across India, including in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, and Vadodara.
Since the interest was so high, [email protected] tripled their enrollment in the introductory all-women AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials course, creating three cohorts of 35, 35, and 30, totalling 100 participants. This was in addition to the original 50 places in the more advanced courses (which require two years of prior technical training).
The training ran from July to October 2022, with most classes being led by female AWS instructors who specifically volunteered to help teach these cohorts.
According to Hoffman, the success of this program has interested participants waiting for similar opportunities.
“We actually have people coming back and saying, ‘what’s next? what else can we learn?’ All of us are very dedicated to making sure that people have a really fantastic career path.”
Hoffman added that the overall goal for this initiative was to create a welcoming environment for women in tech.
“So the success piece was really around giving females a safe space in which to go ahead and learn and to ask questions. And coming out of that initiative, we did get response rates, where they felt more equipped. They felt that they had grown a network. They felt that they could go ahead and now actually apply for that next role because of the development opportunity that they were given through the training initiative.”