Indian consulate leads new drive to upskill workers

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Dubai: The Consulate General of India here has spearheaded a new drive aimed at upgrading skills and roles of blue-collar workers to the new normal.

The consulate, in collaboration with Skyline University College (SUC) in Sharjah and Indian Association Sharjah, is organising a two-day training for blue-collar workers, being held from Tuesday to Wednesday at Sharjah Indian School, Gulfnews reported.

 The plan is to collaborate with educational establishments and Indian associations in the UAE in providing upskilling and reskilling for the workers, such as English language and communication skills, basic computer literacy and soft skills, as well as to boost their confidence level, officials said during the launch ceremony at SUC on Tuesday.

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In his address at the ceremony, Aman Puri, Consul General of India in Dubai, said Indian blue-collar workers are highly sought by employers in the UAE owing to their “hard working and law-abiding nature”.

More than 3.3 million Indians live and work in the UAE, with some 65 per cent of them estimated to be from the blue-collar category, he added.

 “Therefore, it is imperative that we complement the expectations of our gracious workforce in terms of their skill sets. Having the largest working diaspora in the UAE, it is natural that the Indian Consulate is always interested in understanding about the skill sets that can enhance the employability and productivity of the Indian human resources in the UAE,” Puri said.

“With the rapidly evolving global technological landscape, regional economic conditions, and Covid-19, it is critical for us to keep updated with the requisite future skill sets … The Covid-19 pandemic has brought great challenges for Indians working in the UAE and several sectors were adversely impacted, including construction, aviation, tourism, and hospitality. “Several workers have lost their livelihood and had to return to India. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic has also altered the conventional workspace and has ushered in innovative work environments, and have devised mechanisms to allow employees to work from home. Several of these aspects are likely to stay. It is therefore important that we accept and adjust to the new realities.”

Against the backdrop of these developments, the consul general added, the consulate had launched an upskilling programme in January using a Public-Private-Partnership model, by “utilising existing educational infrastructure and generating a win-win situation for all stakeholders involved, through the concept of ‘Uberisation’ of educational infrastructure”.

Since the upskilling programme was launched earlier this year, the consulate has received interest from several educational institutions and Indian associations who will “gladly volunteer to provide the support for the training of blue collar workers”.

Puri said: “We are extremely grateful to universities, schools, Indian associations, and organisations who have collaborated and partnered with the Indian consulate to work on this upscaling model”.

As part of the collaboration, SUC is providing the training for 245 blue-collar workers, including non-teaching staff of Sharjah Indian School as well as staff of Indian Association Sharjah.

 Speaking at the ceremony, SUC vice-chairman Nitin Anand said upskilling and reskilling is the need of the hour for all categories of employees and even business persons.

 Even the SUC community, for example, had to learn about and adjust to the new virtual working environment brought on by the pandemic, Anand added.