Induction Week of the ‘Thirteenth’ Batch of Management Trainees

By : Shenali fernando

On the 1st of August 2019 six enthusiastic individuals started their 15-month journey at John Keells as the “thirteenth” batch of Management Trainees. Six diverse personalities were grouped together to embark on a journey that started off with an eventful induction week. We were tasked with gaining a firsthand experience on the functions of various business units that sum Sri Lanka’s largest conglomerate. Hence, I felt that our noteworthy experiences, deserve to be admired and documented, as a gesture of showing gratitude for the opportunities we received during our very first week at the Group. 

One of the experiences that fascinated me the most was bearing witness to a live tea auction. It turned out to be an ultimate rap battle of sorts! They spoke so fast and managed to pull-off sales of 6 batches of tea under a minute, fully revealing how Colombo has earned its reputation as the single largest tea auction in the world. Selling 6.5 million kilograms of tea every week, after-all is no easy task. Here’s a fun fact that we learnt during our induction, ever noticed the new leaf-like K logo in the Keels outlets? This was designed with a tea leaf to symbolise the origins of John Keells Holdings as a tea broker almost 150 years ago. 

The Group’s strong presence in the financial sector was made evident following the visit to John Keells Stockbrokers and Union Assurance. We also visited the Cinnamon Life construction site and let me tell you, the view from the top floor is super incredible! Fun Fact: There are VERSACE branded floor tiles! Yes, I didn’t know either. And that’s what will be used to tile the washrooms of the Life apartments.  We were also fortunate enough to pay a visit to the new ice cream manufacturing facility in Seethawaka which was indeed a paradise for all ice cream lovers.

Now the best part of our induction week were the amazing lunches we enjoyed at Chutneys and Long Feng. All though we were asked to not get used to the special treatment, we would never say no to another round of customized cocktails at Cinnamon Red.  From handling logistics and warehousing to providing marine bunkering services at the port to being the best domestic airline in the country, John Keells has a stake in all three transport verticals – Land, sea and air! Earlier this year, South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT), the container terminal in the port of Colombo backed by John Keells was recognized as the ‘Best Terminal in the Indian sub-continent region’, for the third consecutive year. 

During our induction week something that was reminded to us quite often was that, “Right from the first day, working at John Keells will throw you in to the deep end – you need to have a level head, a sunny personality and be able to multi-task efficiently, as it is a very fast paced role.” As we enthusiastically await the many adventures that are yet to come in our way, we are thankful for the people we met, new friendships that were built and memories we’ve made as the new batch of Management Trainee of the John Keells Group. A special thank you goes out to Group and to all sectors for welcoming Sashara, Anuka, Gihan, Mark, Praveen and myself into the John Keells family with much love.