Unilever Sri Lanka, the nation’s number one employer of choice, recently marked the completion of its inaugural LEaD (Learn, Explore, Develop) training programme at its head office.
The event saw 18 second year engineering undergraduate students from the University of Moratuwa graduate from the seven-month programme, which was launched in October 2016.
Unilever embarked on this initiative with the aim of ensuring that the nation’s future engineers are able to meet the high global standards brought on by rapid development and shifting technology landscapes. Within this framework one main area of focus was soft skills, which were developed to meet corporate expectations.
The programme exposed candidates to the inner workings of the Unilever supply chain where they learned about the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) giant through its various processes, explored the factories and were able to develop their careers through formal training. Applications for positions in the programme are called for each year on the Unilever Careers’ Facebook page.
Once enrolled, the candidates had to commit two half days or one full day each month to participate in interactive learning sessions. The managers from Unilever were assigned to mentor individual students through the course of the programme.
“We are happy that our undergraduates were able to receive first-hand experience from a company like Unilever, which has a wealth of knowledge and expertise from across the globe. These lessons will be invaluable in shaping their young minds and help them determine their future. They are now armed with a firmer understanding of the industry and a set of experiences that will set them apart from their peers in the job market,” said University of Moratuwa Industrial Training Division Director Nihal Wijeyewickrema.
“A ready talent pool is at the core of our successful supply chain and we, at Unilever, want to ensure that it stays that way. With the LEaD programme, we have gone the extra mile to create that talent pool by constantly nurturing the resources at an early stage. By opening our business to these undergraduates, we are providing them with practical experience to supplement their theoretical knowledge.
We have already received great feedback from our first batch of candidates on the quality of the programme and how it has helped them understand corporate culture and apply what they have learned in the classroom to the real world. We look forward to inducting many more undergraduates into the programme in the future,” said Unilever Sri Lanka Supply Chain Director Noman Lutfi.
This latest programme is in keeping with Unilever’s HR strategy of enabling opportunities for undergraduates. Similar programmes include the Leadership Internship Programme and Unilever Sparks, both of which empowered the business leaders of tomorrow by giving them first-hand corporate experience at a renowned multinational. It was also this very same strategy that propelled Unilever to become the most preferred employer amongst undergraduates for three consecutive years in a Nielsen survey.
Unilever Sri Lanka is one of the largest FMCG companies in Sri Lanka, with 30 market leading brands in categories such as home care, personal care and foods. Established in Sri Lanka in 1938 with brands such as Sunlight, Lux and Pears, Unilever’s corporate purpose is to make sustainable living commonplace, and the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan sets out to decouple the company’s growth from environmental impact, while increasing its positive social impact.
The plan has three big goals that by 2020 will help improve people’s health and well-being, reduce the company’s environmental footprint and enhance livelihoods across its value chain.