‘Step up to Careers’ with John Keells Foundation | Daily News

‘Step up to Careers’ with John Keells Foundation

Participants at the workshop
Participants at the workshop

“We had a great event with industry professionals. We got the soft skills that every employee needs for the base level of his career. I came all the way from Galle and this is the best programme, a great learning experience,” says Prabodh Bentotage an undergraduate of the University of Moratuwa who participated in John Keells Foundation’s latest soft skills programme for university undergraduates ‘Step up to Careers’.

An extension of ‘The Final Step’ – the popular series of soft skills workshops conducted at local universities over the past 14 years benefiting over 5,000 university students, ‘Step up to Careers’ is a one-day programme comprising a panel discussion, training workshops and a career fair open to both state and non-state university undergraduates with the objective of enhancing their employability.

The inaugural program conducted in partnership with the University Grants Commission and supported by youth organizations AISEC, Rotaract and Leo clubs, was held on June 1 at the Defence Services College Auditorium and saw the participation of 113 students representing 27 universities.

Carmeline Jayasuriya, Head of Operations of John Keells Foundation, said, “This initiative is called ‘Step Up’ because it facilitates you to go beyond academic learning and step up to the ‘real’ world. It has been designed to equip youngsters with tools to develop a winning personality, improve their leadership and team skills, vision, goal setting, problem solving and understand the importance of the right attitudes and values. It is our hope that at the end of this program, they will improve their practical skills to succeed in career and life.”

The workshop commenced with a panel discussion covering employer expectations of a graduate employee including skills, competencies, attitudes and values.

The panellists comprised business leaders Dilani Alagaratnam, President, Group HR, Legal and Secretarial, Group Sustainability and CSR; Dileep Mudadeniya , Vice President, Head of Brand Marketing –Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts, CEO – Cinnamon Life Mall;, Sriyan De S Wijeyeratne CEO, Abans; Sandya Salgado, Director, Film Island; Wishanth Wijesinghe, Assistant Vice President, Head of John Keells X (Corporate Startup Accelerator) and an introductory address by Nayana Mawilmada, Executive Vice President, Sector Head, Property Group, JKG, representing diverse fields such as HR, Leisure and Tourism, Retail, Software and Telecommunications, Mass Communications, Property Development and Entrepreneurship.

Panelist Sandya Salgado said, “More and more people benefit from a programme of this nature.

During our time as undergraduates we really didn’t have this opportunity.

I think this is a great opportunity to make use of this programme, come for more of these programs and participate and learn more”.

The programme concluded with a career fair, where students were able to network with HR personnel from 17 companies of the John Keells Group representing seven industry groups.



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