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Members of the Indian community attend the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations at the Indian consulate in Dubai on Saturday. Image Credit: Twitter

Dubai: The Indian Consulate in Dubai plans to help upskill and retrain blue-collar workers here to meet post COVID-19 challenges in the job market, the Consul General of India Dr Aman Puri told Gulf News on Saturday.

“We are planning to work with key stake holders in making sure that the [Indian] workforce here can be upskilled and retrained for the job requirements in the post-COVID scenario,” Dr Puri said after the 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebration held at the consulate.

Dr Aman Puri

He said the plan is to help out blue-collar workers to increase their employability and make them more suitable for the requirements that have come up in the wake of the pandemic. “Many of them have lost jobs. Some may require to be retrained in other areas where there is availability of jobs. In a post-COVID world, we have to be willing to be retrained, improve ourselves and meet new demands. Once they are upskilled and retrained, they will get better jobs. It is a win-win situation for employers and workers, which in turn will help boost the economy of both the countries,” he pointed out.

Detailing the plan, he said the consulate would work as a catalyst with educational and training institutions and other key stakeholders including individual volunteers and community organisations to come up with programmes offering IT skills, language skills and other soft skills free of cost. He said the mission aims to launch the first prototype by the third week of January.

Education conference

The mission has also planned a major conference on education and skill development on February 9 and 10. “We will engage with Indian institutions and link them with their UAE counterparts. We would like to see more academic exchange between universities of both the countries and more of Emirati students getting exposure of India through various universities in India,” said Dr Puri.

He said the mission would also celebrate the contributions of Indian teachers, professors and academicians to the education system in the UAE. “We thank the UAE authorities in enabling Indian entrepreneurs in the education sector to grow their organisations. Some of the home-grown educational groups like GEMS Education are now global organisations with presence in several countries,” he pointed out.

Assuring that the mission would also tackle educational issues of health care professionals, he said requirements of health care workers in getting proper equivalence certificates will also be addressed. “A large number of students from here go to India for higher education. We will also showcase opportunities in India for graduation and post-graduation for them.”

Supporting affordable education

The Consul General said the mission would also host brainstorming sessions with key stakeholders in the educational sector to encourage opportunities for affordable, quality education. “The post-COVID world has made it imperative that we need to make education more accessible and affordable. We will encourage the stakeholders to brainstorm and deliberate on this and also talk about uberisation of educational infrastructure so that the resources in educational institutions can be optimised by making use of them after regular classes.

“We would very much encourage educational institutions to work with UAE authorities to see how they can make the UAE a shining example for world class and affordable education. We will also be working closely with the local authorities.”

UAE shining example

During his speech addressing the select attendees of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebration at the mission, Dr Puri thanked the Indian expat who have contributed immensely to their second home, the UAE. “It is a great honour for you and us to be here on this land, and most importantly the vision of the leadership of this country, which has outshined many of the most developed countries in tackling regional crisis or global health crisis by taking confidence-building steps among its residents.”

He urged the Indian expats to respond positively to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clarion call at the inauguration of the PBD convention to actively contribute to the Aatmanirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India) campaign, the theme of the PBD.

During the virtual convention, Modi thanked the contribution of the Indian diaspora and their selfless service during the pandemic, which has been hailed by several world leaders.

External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar added that Indian expats “have been intrinsic partners to our national growth and modernisation.”

Role of Gulf NRIs

Chairman and managing director of Lulu Group, M.A. Yusuffali represented the expats from the UAE at a panel discussion on the role of the Gulf NRIs in supporting the campaign. Lauding the strong personal relationship that Modi maintains with the rulers of the Gulf countries, Yusuffali appreciated him for personally requesting to support the Indian expats during the beginning of the pandemic.

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A virtual discussion on the occasion of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. Image Credit: Supplied

“The savings of NRIs from the Gulf countries will continue to play a significant role in supporting Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” said Yusuffali, who was also in the jury of this year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards.

He suggested the Indian government to float more PPP projects in different sectors in which small investors from the Gulf countries can also invest. “There is no doubt this will be a win-win situation,” he added.