How DBL and Jardine Matheson Created an Award-winning Programme for Tomorrow’s CEOs

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Development Beyond Learning (DBL) have partnered with Jardine Matheson (Jardines) since 2018 to reimagine, design, deliver and continuously improve the Jardines Executive Trainee Scheme (JETs) three-year learning programme. And this year, DBL and Jardines together won the Institute of Student Employers’ award for Outstanding Employer and Supplier Development Partnership.

Read on to discover exactly what we did – how DBL partnered with Jardines to reimagine an innovative, scalable solution that attracted and retained talent, built a pipeline of future leaders and upskilled employees for the future of work.


The Ambition

The JETs programme has been in existence in some way since 1994. In more recent years the target intake numbers have been increased and there needed to be a conscious shift to play on some of the existing strengths of the programme such as the pride and support of the community of JETs. In addition, focus was needed to address some of the areas causing turnover – for example how to ensure that there was consistency of experience and clarity on the journey and destination of this strategic talent pool.

JETs is a leadership-focused early career talent programme. The overarching purpose is to develop future leaders of the business units, brands and functions in the Jardines portfolio. Ultimately Jardines want to see their talent on this programme developing into their CEOs.

The Solution

Together, Jardines and DBL created EMBARK, a unique programme designed to develop Future Leaders and General Managers of the businesses in its vast portfolio. Since 2018 the EMBARK programme has been redesigned to build a more intentional development opportunity.

In order to commence the development of the programme, Jardines first needed clarity about the success profile at the end of the journey – being a General Manager. This was created using a process of interviews with senior management who had been developed internally or hired externally. The outcome was a Success Profile along with a Critical Experience framework which allowed those on the programme as well as those who support them to be very clear about what was required to ensure that there was more intentional direction in their career journey.

Further Key Elements:


The programme development has been innovative in a number of ways:

The Impact

The success of Jardines’ JETs cohorts since 2018 lies in the seamless partnership and collaborative approach of both parties, learning and iterating as each cohort develops.  As Head of Early Careers and Group Coaching at Jardines, Anna Champion, put it ‘the partnership between DBL and Jardines is like an extension to our team’.

The success of the reimagined programme is borne out in retention data.  Since 2018 there has only been one leaver in year one of the programme and the retention level at year three of the JETS programme is higher than the Institute of Student Employers’ benchmark.  It is also a marked improvement since before the programme was re-invented:

Demand for the programme has also increased and continues to do so.  Over the last three years, over 28,000 applications have been received for the JET programme, with an offer ratio of 580 candidates per each hire made. This is in comparison to the Institute of Student Employers’ benchmark of 62 per hire.

Performance reviews were strong in the most recent end of year performance review, with 53% of JETs awarded the highest score of 4 – You’re outstanding; and 47% scoring 3 – You’re doing a good job.

Importantly, feedback from the JETs themselves has been glowing, with 86% giving a positive response for “Would you recommend the JET programme to others”.

Although the full success of the programme will emerge as the talent continues to grow in their new positions, the roles that the JETs are now graduating into are more meaningful than ever. There is more consistency and structure to the programme and it is clear that the JETs are having more consistent experiences.

Moreover, we take pride in the fact that the demand for JETs from the Jardines businesses is now larger than the intake of JETs themselves.

Jardine Matheson is a diversified Asian-based group comprised of a broad portfolio of market-leading businesses including property, motor vehicles, retail and restaurants, engineering, heavy equipment, financial services, mining, construction and hotels. Over 425,000 employees and generating gross revenues of over US$114 billion.

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