Dr. Rohitha Rathnaweera: Trailblazing Global Approach to Education and Consulting
Dr. P. Rohitha

Embarking on a remarkable journey that traverses the domains of the Sri Lankan Army and the corporate landscape, Dr. Rohitha Rathnaweera, the respected Managing Director of Global Institute of Safety, Security and Technology (Pvt) Ltd, has accrued a profound wealth of experience and knowledge. This seasoned education consultant’s journey spans over three decades and is characterized by a resolute commitment to educational and professional advancement.

Dr. Rathnaweera is a trusted expert in providing corporate solutions and developing competencies in various disciplines such as EHS management systems, Supply Chain, Fire Risk and Impact, Hazard Effect Management Process, FRED, LOPA, QRA, HazOp, Tripod Incident investigation, Bow- Ties, Crisis Management, ERP, BCP, and training on WAH, CSE, Tower climbing, Rescue, Rigging, Defensive and Advance driving and Haz Mat operator training.

His clientele includes Shell, Chevron, BAT, Fonterra, Uni-Lever, Heineken, Coca-Cola, Andritz Hydro, Ballast Nedam, Glaxo, CIC, Nokia, Huawei, Linde, Akzo-Noble, BASF, Holcim, Coats thread, SGS, HSBC, MELCo, Avery Dennison and European Union.

Beginning as a specialized Heavy Weapons Instructor in 1986, his career evolved into a varied role encompassing the training and development of combat soldiers, infantry commanders, gunners, tank crews, engineers, and even special forces riders.

However, a turning point came in 1997 when he attended the British Petroleum brand launch, where he was captivated by the impactful teaching style of Mr. Karim Ibrahim, a renowned industry presenter. This encounter prompted him to delve into the nuances of effective teaching, from voice modulation to audience engagement. A watershed moment came in his professional life, solidifying his reputation as an energetic presenter capable of captivating audiences.

Dr. Rathnaweera embarked on a distinguished career at Shell, commencing in the year 2000. During his tenure, he completed numerous specialized training programs in “Coaching for Performance,” focused on fostering career growth, implementing performance improvement initiatives, and empowering individuals to excel in their respective roles. Simultaneously, he diligently worked to elevate his personal capabilities, aiming to attain a skill level that would enable him to “walk the talk” with grace and authenticity.

With 16 years of experience at Shell and 14 years in the military, he pursued continuous learning by attending specialized trainer development programs in the USA and the UK. In 2016, he initiated GISST (Pvt) Ltd., aiming to narrow the distance between theory and practice in local markets. Known for his subject knowledge, practical expertise, and commitment to industry standards, Rohitha gained trust among clients. His ability to tackle complex issues with sustainable solutions elevated him to one of Asia’s most trusted education consultants.

Transforming Knowledge into Competence

Dr. Rohitha Rathnaweera’s consulting and training approach is unique in an industry crowded with superficial expertise. He addresses the common pitfalls of either theoretical trainers lacking practical experience or hands on experts lacking communication skills.

His recent success story with Unilever Sri Lanka exemplifies his commitment to bridging this gap. He orchestrated a Hazard and Operability Study (HazOp) involving all process stakeholders under his guidance. This not only demonstrated his depth of knowledge but also instilled a thirst for learning and vital competencies in the participants, transcending age barriers and elevating business performance to new heights. His dedication to holistic education and competence application sets him apart in the field.

Dynamic Educational Landscape

In the ever-changing sphere of education, Dr. Rathnaweera remains at the forefront by maintaining active connections with industry-leading organizations such as RoSPA, NSC, NFPA, IOSH, IRATA, and OSHA. He constantly immerses himself in development programs to update his competencies and ensures that his licenses and credentials are up to date, allowing him to provide clients with the latest insights and advice.

In the trend to send personalized guidance to students, Dr. Rohitha Rathnaweera believes in the fundamental concept of self-discovery. He encourages individuals to embark on an introspective journey, delving into the core of their aspirations and contemplating the role of their career in the broader context of life.

One of the major questions he poses is whether individuals perceive their career as merely a means to sustain their existence or if they recognize life as an essential component of their career success. It’s a thought-provoking query that invites profound self-reflection.

For those who prioritize life, Dr. Rathnaweera is a proponent of aligning one’s career with one’s intrinsic passions and interests. He believes that such alignment not only enhances job satisfaction but also nurtures creativity and adaptability. In this approach, the pursuit of a vocation becomes a fulfilling journey guided by personal passion rather than external pressures.

Conversely, for those who are inherently career-oriented, he emphasizes the significance of self-discovery along the professional path. He advocates for the exploration of one’s strengths, values, and aspirations to achieve a harmonious balance between ambition and personal fulfillment. Moreover, he underscores the value of self-employment options as a safeguard against the external pressures that can often encroach upon one’s career trajectory.

Regardless of the path an individual chooses, the counsel places a premium on individual fulfillment and personal choice, transcending the influence of external expectations. Dr. Rohitha’s guidance empowers students to make deliberate, conscious decisions about their educational and career journeys, ensuring that their choices are not mere responses to societal norms or pressures but reflections of their true selves.

To be precise, his approach to personalized guidance is a compass for individuals navigating the intricate landscape of life and career choices. It champions authenticity, self-awareness, and the pursuit of personal passions, ultimately fostering a sense of fulfillment and purpose in every individual’s unique journey.

Interactive Learning with 3D Models and CFD Simulations

Engaging in an innovative teaching approach, Dr. Rathnaweera employs 3D models and CFD simulations to elucidate operational concepts and fire safety measures. By immersing students in lifelike scenarios, the complexities of emergency response planning come to life. Beyond the classroom, the educator utilizes driving simulators, addressing the diverse terrains of international markets. Monitoring tools for blood oxygen levels and fatigue prove instrumental in conveying the significance of scheduled breaks and rotations to operators and managers.

Furthermore, the adept use of virtual and IT tools grants remote access to problem areas, facilitating rapid solutions, even from hundreds of kilometers away. This approach enriches the educational experience, bridging the gap between theory and real-world application.

In Dr. Rathnaweera’s approach to client engagement, exceeding customer expectations stands as the paramount objective. Achieving this goal entails a delicate balance between understanding their unique needs, empowering them with knowledge, and presenting solutions that are not only effective but also user-friendly, all at an affordable cost. Years of commitment to this principle have yielded a track record of dependable, cost-effective, and highly beneficial engagements, naturally fostering trust among clients.

While guiding students through the intricate landscape of education decisions, he encounters various challenges, which he adeptly addresses through three distinctive approaches: Problem-centric, Solution-centric, and Personal-centric.

Resolving Issues with Precision

In the Problem-centric approach, the focus lies on resolving specific issues, even without a precise understanding of the desired outcome. This method proves valuable when students are aware of a problematic situation but lack clarity regarding its exact nature. He assumes the responsibility of identifying the root cause, interpreting indications, and devising the optimal course of action to arrive at the desired solution.

Alternatively, the Solution-centric approach is employed when the objective is to identify a specific solution through any available means. It allows for flexibility and creativity in problem-solving, ensuring that students arrive at a concrete resolution tailored to their needs. In situations where personal achievement or recognition is imperative, the personal-centric approach comes into play. Dr. Rathnaweera understands that some students may have unique aspirations that extend beyond academic or career-oriented goals. Here, he provides personalized guidance and support to help students realize their individual ambitions. In every scenario, his commitment to client satisfaction and his versatile approach to problem-solving ensure that students receive the guidance and support they need to navigate complex educational decisions successfully. His dedication to understanding their specific needs and delivering tailored solutions continues to make a significant impact on their educational journeys.

Fostering Inclusivity Across Boundaries

Dr. Rathnaweera’s rich and diverse professional background has equipped him with a deep understanding of working across various cultures, tribes, and religions. Recognizing the sensitivity inherent in these interactions, he has honed the practice of entering participants’ backgrounds beforehand. This proactive approach allows him to identify potential triggers related to their family, cultural, and religious affiliations.

With meticulous attention to detail, he carefully evaluates aspects such as language, vocabulary, examples, group dynamics, and topic selection. His overarching goal is to foster an inclusive climate where every participant is recognized as an integral part of the learning journey, transcending cultural and religious boundaries.

As the educational sector undergoes a transformation marked by the ascent of online learning and global opportunities, Dr. Rohitha guides students through this evolving terrain. The shift from traditional Education 1.0 to Education 2.0 and beyond has been greatly facilitated by the wealth of Internet resources. He actively engages students in assignments that require independent research, tapping into the vast repository of online materials.

Moreover, he orchestrates connections among participants based on their respective places of employment, a strategy that allows him to draw upon location-specific examples closely related to the subject matter. This approach minimizes disruption to their daily routines while maximizing relevance.

The seamless integration of technology also enables real-time information sharing and collaboration among participants. By harnessing these digital tools, Dr. Rathnaweera empowers the group to expand their knowledge base collectively, fostering a dynamic and interactive learning experience. His commitment to adapting to the ever-evolving landscape of education ensures that students are well-equipped to navigate the plethora of options available to them in the digital age, facilitating their growth and success.

Small Groups, Big Impact

Dr. Rathnaweera adopts a multifaceted approach to assess and nurture the potential of professionals when time and resources permit. He is an intellect who uses tools akin to the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument to gain insights into individuals’ cognitive styles and preferences, recognizing that these assessments, while not entirely precise, can be valuable indicators for personal and professional development.

In the sphere of educational endeavours, particularly within his supply chain management classes, Dr. Rohitha fosters experiential learning through group activities and encourages students to form small groups autonomously, tasking them with creating virtual operational or commercial business models. Within these structures, students assume various roles and responsibilities related to the subject matter, allowing their individual performances to be assessed comprehensively. This approach serves as a platform for identifying their strengths and aptitudes, facilitating personalized guidance.

Dr. Rathnaweera’s commitment to ethical considerations is appreciable. In his educational models, ethics permeate every facet, encompassing business, social, and cultural dimensions. Ethical discussions are woven into the fabric of each interaction from the outset, creating an environment where ethical decision-making is central to the learning experience.

Moreover, he actively encourages participants to voice any concerns related to ethical issues, whether they pertain to fellow participants or external stakeholders. To further reinforce ethical integrity, an ombudsman is appointed when requested or deemed necessary by participants. This proactive approach ensures that ethical guidance aligns with the best interests of students, fostering an environment where ethics are not just taught but also practiced in every aspect of their education and professional development.

Punctuality as a Virtue

Dr. Rathnaweera’s approach to consulting and teaching embodies a philosophy rooted in military theory: “Be a soldier before becoming a commander.” This guiding principle underscores his unwavering commitment to mastery within his area of expertise before taking on the roles of consultant and educator.

Prior to stepping into the consulting and teaching realms, he dedicated himself to mastering the intricacies of his chosen field. This preparation ensures that he can adeptly address any queries or challenges that his audience may present, fostering an environment of trust and confidence.

Furthermore, Dr. Rathnaweera places a strong emphasis on staying current with the latest advancements in his sector. He recognizes the importance of continuous learning and strives to possess not only knowledge but also the qualities necessary to convey information to his audience effectively.

Developing exceptional listening, speaking, and interaction abilities is a cornerstone of his approach. These skills enable Dr. Rathnaweera to connect with his audience on a profound level, facilitating meaningful and productive engagements.

In all his interactions, he places a premium on respecting everyone’s time. Dr. Rohitha adheres to precise schedules, ensuring that both the start and end times of his sessions are observed with utmost punctuality.

This commitment to efficiency and professionalism reflects his deep respect for the audience’s time and underscores his dedication to delivering high-quality consulting and teaching experiences.

Dr. Rathnaweera’s holistic approach to consulting and education is a testament to his unwavering commitment to excellence. He meticulously prepares conscientiously by mastering his field and staying current with industry advancements, ensuring he can address any inquiry. His dedication to continuous learning keeps his knowledge up to date. His exceptional communication skills foster meaningful connections with his audience.

Above all, Dr. Rathnaweera’s deep respect for others is reflected in his punctuality and adherence to schedules, demonstrating his profound consideration for their time. This comprehensive approach not only sets a high standard for professionalism but also empowers those he serves to excel and thrive in their endeavors.

Equipping All for Success

Dr. Rathnaweera’s educational landscape stands apart, characterized by its remarkable diversity. In his role as an educator and consultant, he engages with a wide-ranging audience that spans the spectrum of age and professional experience. His students and clients encompass the youngest undergraduates at various universities all the way to seasoned individuals occupying positions of leadership and authority, including CEOs, Managing Directors, Senior Managers, and retired government servants.

The inherent diversity within this audience necessitates a unique set of tactics, strategies, and rules of engagement. He recognizes that the needs, expectations, and goals of his students and clients are as diverse as their backgrounds. He tailors his approach to cater to this diversity, ensuring that his methods resonate with and cater to the specific requirements of each individual or group.

For the undergraduates, Dr. Rathnaweera’s approach focuses on foundational learning and skill development, nurturing their potential and setting them on a path to future success. Meanwhile, for seasoned executives and government officials, his strategies involve drawing upon their extensive experience to enhance their leadership capabilities and address complex challenges.

Dr. Rathnaweera’s ability to adapt his tactics and strategies to suit the unique demands of his diverse audience is a testament to his versatility and commitment to delivering value in education and consultancy. In this distinctive educational landscape, his goal is to empower individuals at every stage of their journey, ensuring that they are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in their respective domains.

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