KOLLAM: At 6.30 pm, the Union Square Park ground in Dubai transforms into a vibrant hub of knowledge and learning. Far removed from the usual sight of people lost in their smartphones, the venue hosts, from Monday to Friday, a dedicated group attending free lectures by seasoned professionals.
The brainchild of a group of Malayalis based in Abu Dhabi, the initiative is driven by a desire to offer newcomers to the UAE with job-oriented courses.
Spearheading the mission, launched in 2022, is Ashiqu Hassain, a senior accountant at INTS Technical Services in Al Qiyadah, Dubai. The Kollam native’s vision has been gaining popularity, especially among job seekers who are unfamiliar with Dubai’s complex employment landscape.
“I, too, was once a newcomer who had no clue about Dubai’s corporate culture. In fact, I fell victim to a job scam when I first arrived, which forced me to cancel my visa. The experience opened my eyes to the struggles of by many, especially Malayalis, who lack insight into the corporate culture here. That’s how the initiative took root,” Ashiqu shares.
Speaking to TNIE, past and present beneficiaries revealed the difficulties faced in securing jobs due to a lack of essential skills and understanding of industry requirements. Athira P V, from Kannur, arrived in Sharjah in 2022.
‘Over 40 students attend classes daily’
“The work culture here is vastly different. As is the expectations from candidates. When I first arrived in Sharjah, I had limited knowledge of the industries. I discovered the sessions through a social media platform and used to travel over an hour to attend them,” she said.
Anil Kumar, a Dubai-based financial expert, stresses the importance of communication skills. A former teacher, the Alappuzha native now imparts his wisdom to aspiring professionals. “Many students lack communication skills, which are crucial here. I joined the classes when I arrived here in November 2022.
Despite having over five years of experience in the financial sector, finding a job in Dubai proved challenging. Initially, our classes were primarily group discussions among students of various nationalities, but as more signed up, we began conducting proper classes,’’ Anil Kumar noted.
Ashiqu has a Telegram group, called Accountant Community, with over 4,000 members, including finance professionals, human resources experts, communication specialists, and jobseekers. Through various social platforms, experienced professionals connect with jobseekers in Dubai, and offer complementary lectures on finance and HR.
“We cover the entire cost of arranging the sessions. Accessing the premises can be challenging, which is why we’ve chosen to conduct the classes in a public park. Currently, more than 40 students attend classes daily. I am grateful to my organisation and the local government for supporting the initiative,’’ Ashiqu said.