By Narayan Ammachchi
TesteAR, a manual software testing training program created and launched by Globant, has won this year’s prestigious Foundations for the Future (F4F) Award for corporate social responsibility (CSR). The award – instituted jointly by the Nearshore Executive Alliance and Nearshore Americas – is designed to create awareness about the importance of social impact programs in the Latin America global services industry.
“We examined several CSR programs currently underway in Latin America. But Globant’s TesteAR program appeared to fit the bill,” stated Rebeca Hassan, Executive Director of Nearshore Executive Alliance.
Launched in 2010, the TesteAR program has trained as many as 150 youths in manual testing – a process used by IT companies to verify the quality of a software product. “Four youths found employment in Globant itself in the first year of training. More than 85 percent of the trainees have got jobs so far,” informed Francisco J. Michref, Globant’s CSR Coordinator.
Most of these training programs have taken place in Argentina, the Latin American country whose software industry earned US$900 in export revenue last year. “Those four testers are no longer with Globant, they moved up the value chain and found better jobs elsewhere in the region,” said Michref expressing his happiness at the success of the training program.
TesteAR chooses its candidates among the poor families and trains them for four months at its facilities across the region. The curriculum for the program was also devised by its own team of software developers.
It is a known fact that the software industry in Latin America is running short of skilled talent. “The labor market is really tight everywhere in the region. I don’t think you can find out any software engineer sitting idle without a job,” said Alex Robbio, Vice President of Belatrix, in a recent interview with NSAM.
Therefore, analysts say, programs like TesteAR are a win-win for both the jobless youths as well as the outsourcing industry.
Scholarship for Participants
During the course of the training, every participant is paid $150 in monthly scholarship and travel expenses.“We are in contact with most of our former students. They all have found out a job,” Michref said. In addition to software testing, youths are also taught computer basics and the English language.
Runner-up for the F4F award was Qualfon, a global BPO company that has launched a string of social development programs for the welfare of its employees and their families in the South America country of Guyana.
Globant’s program was viewed as unique in many sense. Globant funded the program solely on its own for the initial two years. “From last year onwards, local municipal authorities have started sharing 50 percent of the training cost,” Michref said.
“Remember, business is not just about making money, it also requires contributing to building a better society,” said Hassan, who became executive director of the non-profit NEA four months ago.
“The goal of TesteAR is to rescue vulnerable young adults, who neither work nor study. We have also extended a helping hand for the students to land a right job in a right company”
In 2011, Globant held training programs in the Argentinean city of Tandil and the capital Buenos Aires. More than 100 persons took part in the program and almost all of them found jobs soon after the completion of the course.
“The goal of TesteAR is to rescue vulnerable young adults, who neither work nor study. We have also extended a helping hand for the students to land a right job in a right company,” says Michref. He went on explaining how some of the Globant employees volunteered to help the trainees with the task of facing interviews and sharpening their skills further.
Software testing does not require complex studies, and trainees can easily learn the ropes of the trade in a matter of days and launch a lucrative career in the IT industry. “Our program has benefited more than 600 people indirectly,” Michref said.
“No major company strategy is complete these days without a statement on corporate social responsibility (CSR). Companies espouse their desire to invest in communities and care for the environment,” said Hassan describing the need for instituting an award for CSR programs. Global outsourcing firm Teleperformance won the award last year.