Grooming the next generation of leaders is central to the business development plans of all top corporations. In this respect, American International Assurance Co Ltd (AIA) is no exception, but they are going one step further by offering students the chance to take part in their comprehensive Young Leaders Development Programme (YLDP).
The AIA Foundation, a non-profit-making organisation established in 1995 to extend support to charitable causes, oversees the initiative. According to Alwin Lam, the foundation's senior vice president, "The objective is to assist educational, medical, sports and community programmes. Since beginning the YLDP, we have successfully helped over 200 young people to discover and develop the leadership qualities they have inside."
The special theme selected for this year is to "establish life goals, display leadership ability". As previously, five first-year students from each university in Hong Kong will be chosen to take part in the programme based on their academic achievements plus their participation in extracurricular and social welfare activities. The aim of the six-month YLDP will be to inspire them in problem solving, critical thinking, team building, and analytical skills. They will be encouraged to express individual opinions and participate actively in social service projects.
A variety of training activities will be arranged, including leadership workshops, outward bound camps and overseas cultural visits. Seminars will also be held to further understanding of the different sectors in society and the kind of problems that can be experienced in the community. Invited guest speakers will share their views and personal opinions, as well as providing tips on how to become successful leaders.
Mr Lam points out that the local economy is changing rapidly and that society is becoming more knowledge-based. He believes, therefore, that young people should be equipped with interpersonal, communication and team building skills, which expand their horizons and take them beyond textbook learning.
The YLDP offers this and its ongoing success is thanks largely to the enthusiastic participation of individuals and the support of the universities.