Unilever offers hands-on learning to undergrads

Unilever Sri Lanka, the nation’s number one employer of choice, recently marked the completion of its inaugural LEaD (Learn, Explore, Develop) training program at their head office. The event saw 18 second year engineering undergraduate students from the University of Moratuwa graduate from the 7 month program 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 program exposed candidates to the inner workings of the Unilever supply chain where they learned about the FMCG giant through its various processes, explored the factories and were able to develop their careers through formal training. Applications for positions in the program are called for each year on the Unilever Careers’ Facebook page.Once enrolled, candidates needed to commit two half days or one full day each month to participate in interactive learning sessions. Managers from Unilever were assigned to mentor individual students through the course of the program.

We are happy that our undergraduates were able to receive firsthand 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 Nihal Wijeyewickrema, Director – Industrial Training Division, University of Moratuwa.

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 program, 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 program and how it has helped them understand corporate culture and apply what they have learned in the class room to the real world. We look forward to inducting many more undergraduates into the program in the future,” said Noman Lutfi, Supply Chain Director, Unilever Sri Lanka.

This latest program is in keeping with Unilever’s HR strategy of enabling opportunities for undergraduates. Similar programs include the Leadership Internship Program and Unilever Sparks, both of which empowered the business leaders of tomorrow by giving them firsthand 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.