Unilever Sri Lanka was recently honoured with the Youth Focus Corporate Award at the New Generation Awards 2022, for making the biggest youth impact in the country during 2021-2022, as a corporate entity. The event was organised by the New Generation Chapter of Women in Management (WIM), in partnership with the National Youth Services Council in Sri Lanka. This was the only corporate award category presented at the event.
The New Generation Awards aim to identify, nurture and groom young, talented Sri Lankans and celebrate their contribution to the nation. The event comprised of over 50 Awards being presented across 20 award categories, including awards for schoolchildren, young entrepreneurs, schools, institutions and corporates.
Commenting on the award, Ananya Sabharwal, HR Director of Unilever Sri Lanka said “We are truly humbled to receive this award in recognition of our efforts to upskill the youth of the country. At Unilever, we offer flexible and short-term youth initiatives that cater to undergraduates. So, by the time they graduate, they have already gained vital skills and corporate exposure that are necessary to lay a strong foundation for their career.”
Ananya added “Our talent scouts who are our own employees collectively contribute to Unilever’s youth investment by volunteering their time to conduct campus sessions and share experiences with undergraduates. This kind of real-time industry experience sharing, really enables youth in deciding the kind of career they want to have”.
Unilever Sri Lanka has committed to empower and equip 100,000 Sri Lankan youth with essential skills by 2025 and has already enabled 30,000+ local youth to become more employable over the last five years through its campus engagements, strategic industry – academic student partnerships and career opportunities.
Some of its youth initiatives include its SPARKS Student Ambassador Programme which invites undergraduates from top Sri Lankan universities to become Unilever ambassadors within their universities; the Unilever Challenge which is a real time brand centered case study competition that gives first-hand experience in working with leading brands and building disruptive thinking; the Unilever Leadership Internship Programme which offers internship opportunities to undergraduates across all functions; and many others. It is noteworthy to mention that this year, 48% of the company’s contractual employees were absorbed into the management cadre.
The company has also partnered with John Keels Holdings and London Stock Exchange to launch ‘Fast-Track’, a cross-industry Summer Internship for Sri Lankan students studying locally and abroad; and has partnered with CIMA, the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT), General Sir John Kotelawala Defense University (KDU), AIESEC Sri Lanka and Gavel clubs, to help support dynamic capability building in Sri Lankan youth.
From left to right: Amasha Sirimanna - HR Intern (Unilever Leadership Internship Programme), Unilever Sri Lanka; Shehani Fernando - HR Projects Assistant - Employer Brand & Talent, Unilever Sri Lanka; Aaqilah Hanifa - Talent Advisor & Learning Specialist, Unilever Sri Lanka; Hiruni Perera - Reward Manager, Unilever Sri Lanka; Tahanee Harris - Assistant Manager - Talent & Employer Branding, Unilever Sri Lanka; Keshavi Puswewala - Senior HR Business Partner - Corporate Functions and Talent and Organisation & Employer Brand Lead, Unilever Sri Lanka; Ananya Sabharwal - Human Resources Director, Unilever Sri Lanka; Jency Paul - HR Business Partner - Go To Market, Unilever Sri Lanka; Ishan Dissanayake - Assistant Manager - Workplace Services, Unilever Sri Lanka; and Anjalie Jayatunge - HR Strategy, Learning & Engagement Lead & Assistant HR Business Partner for HR, Unilever Sri Lanka