Initiated in 2007, the John Keells Management Trainee Program aims at recruiting outstanding talent and guiding them into roles which will enable them to be a part of the future leadership of the Group. The program provides the chosen individuals, exposure to the Group’s businesses in the transportation, leisure, property, consumer foods and retail, financial services and information technology sectors, during a 15-month period.
John Keells Group Human Resources President Dilani Alagaratnam expressed that in choosing five persons, annually, emphasis is placed on those who are authentic, who think differently, are creative and caring. “We look for tough minded optimists for this program. They must not only have the initiative, drive and motivation to take on any challenge and be adaptable and innovative to take this company into the future with an attitude of ‘nothing is impossible’, but also have the integrity to do the right thing, always.”
The recruiting process takes approximately three months, commencing with online applications being opened in May of each year. John Keells Research Assistant Manager Thilina Weerasekera, recalling his experience at the programme in 2012 said, “When I applied, I wasn’t really sure what industry or function I’d fit into best and the fact that the John Keells Management Trainee Program provided exposure into all sectors, was the main selling point for me. Now I’m in an exciting role which I didn’t even dream of when I walked into that first interview!”
Each management trainee has a President of the Group as a mentor, during the 15 months. Jaykay Marketing Services (Keells Super) Manager Mifra Ismail from the batch of 2011, expressed that, “The mentor sessions provided an invaluable insight on how businesses of the Group work, how to manage people and how to view each industry. It was fantastic that people at the helm took the time to guide us.” Udara Cumaratunga who is still undergoing the 15 months of the current program shares her view of the importance of this mentoring aspect; “As a recent graduate with no work experience in the corporate sector, it’s been amazing to have access to their wealth of knowledge and learn from their experiences.”
John Keells Holdings PLC, the largest listed conglomerate on the Colombo Stock Exchange, is a responsible corporate citizen focusing not only on empowering the lives of those in the communities they work in, but also focuses on sustainability in reducing the carbon foot print of their business practices. Kanchana Bamunuarachchi – Assistant Vice President, Head of Category Management Jaykay Marketing Services (Keells Super), and a Management Trainee in 2007, spoke of John Keells culture and values; “As a Group we constantly innovate and continuously improve what we do. We are a company with ethics and integrity and we always strive do the right thing. We keep challenging ourselves, and we constantly raise the bar which is critical to achieve excellence! John Keells is a great place to work, where all employees are treated equally, are given an equal opportunity to learn and grow, in an environment where our ideas matter and where relationships are built based on openness and trust.”
Ashan Peiris, Assistant Manager, Head of Training at Cinnamon Red, a Management Trainee from 2011, had this message for potential applicants; “It is one of, if not the best opportunity for a graduate who has the right attitude and aptitude to succeed at the highest level. Go for it! Join the squad!”