Sri Lanka’s only professional network of practising HR professionals, the Association of Human Resource Professionals (AHRP), recently launched the Guiding Leadership & Outreach (GLO) programme. An initiative of Global Learning Lab, in collaboration with AHRP and AIESEC Sri Lanka, this will be a pioneering platform to empower young Sri Lankans who aspire to become future leaders with knowledge, skills, and community-based learning experiences. GLO is further supported by leading Sri Lankan corporations, including Brandix, Fortude, IFS, John Keels Holdings, and Sysco LABS, showcasing its commitment to empowering the country’s future talent pool.
According to global reports, young people worldwide cannot identify or acquire the skills needed for today’s job market, contributing to a global skills gap and exacerbating youth unemployment. An international skills gap, economic decline, and an employment market requiring more complex and diverse skills than ever have contributed to a significant drop in youth employment over the past two decades. Sri Lanka is also facing a substantial shortage of skilled resources. Most young people in the country do not receive the support or experience to develop their skills for the leadership demands today.
In such a context, the Guiding Leadership & Outreach (GLO) programme will act as an integrated, multidimensional approach to creating sustainable communities, youth development, and community well-being in Sri Lanka. As the localised version of the renowned Leadership Academy by Global Learning Lab, GLO is designed to develop youth as citizen leaders and inspire them to see themselves as change agents with concrete ideas about how to use their leadership skills to help them make a positive difference to the communities and the entire nation. Academy elements of this program include a 2-day youth leadership program and a sustainable development project led by youth.
Regarding the initiative, Robin Smith, Co-founder of Global Learning Lab, said, “The foundation for any successful community is learning, leadership and collaboration. We believe individual knowledge, experience, and social/community-based learning are key to sustainability. Sri Lanka’s youth and young leaders are the key to resilience. Investing in them can unleash social and economic innovation and thinking that benefits our collective future. In that context, the launch of the GLO program signifies a significant step towards shaping Sri Lanka’s future of leadership.”
Association of Human Resource Professionals President Roshan Kulasuriya stated: “The GLO program aligns with AHRP’s commitment to fostering excellence in human resource practices. We are excited to launch this initiative, which promises to cultivate Sri Lanka’s next generation of leaders with the skills and mindset for success. Our collaboration with Global Learning Lab, AIESEC Sri Lanka, and sponsor companies underline the significance of initiatives that empower our young leaders and prepare them to be citizen leaders in a complex and interdependent world.”
The Global Learning Lab was first established in India with a commitment to learning for all. GLL was incubated in Hawaii with the Hawaii Executive Collaboration and Claremont McKenna College (USA) to prepare young leaders for thoughtful and productive lives. The Leadership Academy and related Leadership Toolkit exist to provide individuals, groups of people, and communities with the critical knowledge, skills and experiences required for positive impact and success. The Leadership Academy engages young leaders early in the creation of sustainable solutions. Our work has positively impacted over 10,000 young leaders across Asia historically and is now being shared around the world youth, understanding, and engagement is the key to the future.
Speaking at the GLO launch held at Fortude, Arjuna Sirinanda, Managing Director of Fortude, said, “At Fortude, we understand the power of global leadership development and the importance of empowering our employees to navigate complex global environments. Investing in initiatives such as GLO can retain talent within the country and create a vibrant leadership development and innovation ecosystem. We must get behind this program and provide young leaders mentorship, resources, and market access, enabling them to make meaningful economic contributions.”
The GLO launch was attended by the 26 participants of the programme’s first phase, facilitators from Global Learning Lab, corporate HR leaders and the leadership of the partnering companies, including Dinusha Jayamanne, Senior General Manager – HR of Brandix, Isuru Gunasekera, Executive VP, Chief People Officer and Head of Sustainability, ERM & Group Initiatives of John Keells Holdings, Thilanka Jayathilaka, Vice President – HR of IFS Sri Lanka, Ranil Rajapakse, Executive VP and COO of IFS Sri Lanka, Oshana Dias, Chief People Officer of Fortude, Rehan Anthonis, Director of People Operations of Sysco LABS.
All the sponsoring corporates of the Guiding Leadership & Outreach (GLO) programme will collectively contribute to the initiative’s success by providing financial support, mentorship, resources, and industry insights. Their commitment reflects a shared vision of empowering the youth and impacting leadership development, education, and community building in Sri Lanka.