In Dubai, a groundbreaking initiative, initiated in 2022, is changing the game for jobseekers, and at the forefront of this mission is Ashiqu Hassain, a senior accountant at INTS Technical Services in Al Qiyadah, Dubai.
Every evening at 6.30 pm, Union Square Park in Dubai undergoes a remarkable transformation, turning into a lively center of knowledge and learning. In stark contrast to the usual scene of people engrossed in their smartphones, this venue plays host to a group of eager individuals attending free lectures delivered by seasoned professionals from Monday to Friday.
This visionary initiative is the brainchild of a group of Malayalis residing in Abu Dhabi, driven by a strong desire to provide newcomers to the UAE with courses geared towards enhancing their job prospects.
Ashiqu Hassain, hailing from Kollam, has been at the forefront of this mission since its inception in 2022. As a senior accountant, he understands the complexities of Dubai’s job market and has witnessed his vision gain considerable traction, particularly among job seekers unfamiliar with Dubai’s intricate employment landscape.
Ashiqu, who was once a newcomer himself, shared, “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 faced by many, especially Malayalis, who lack insight into the corporate culture here. That’s how the initiative took root.”
Speaking with TNIE, beneficiaries both past and present recounted the challenges they faced in securing employment due to a lack of essential skills and understanding of industry requirements. Athira P V, who arrived in Sharjah from Kannur in 2022, noted, “The work culture here is vastly different, as are 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.”
Anil Kumar, a financial expert based in Dubai, emphasized the importance of communication skills. Formerly a teacher, this native of Alappuzha now imparts his wisdom to aspiring professionals. He shared, “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.”
Ashiqu has established a Telegram group called the “Accountant Community,” which boasts 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, offering complementary lectures on finance and HR.
Ashiqu expressed his gratitude, stating, “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 organization and the local government for supporting the initiative.”