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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 10/11/2012

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Mohamed Hassan Ali has been working as a helper in a warehouse for three years. The fifth grade dropout from Bangladesh could never dream of properly speaking a few sentences in English until recently.

Today, Ali knows phonic sounds and several words in English required for his day-to-day interactions. Greeting me saying "Hello, how are you Ma'am," the 30-year-old says he is extremely happy about his attempts to break the language barrier gradually. He is now more confident in presenting himself and feels that gradually he can try for a promotion as a foreman.

All these changes came in his life when Ali volunteered to join an in-house personality development-cum-language skills training programme offered by his company, Danube, nearly two months ago. "Those who have joined the course try to speak in English at least among ourselves. I'm sure I can improve even more in a couple of months," said Ali. What started as an in-house initiative of the company has now been extended to benefit blue-collar workers from across the emirate.

The building material giant opened Danube Welfare Centre (DWC) on Thursday, "with a vision to develop and upgrade the skill sets of blue-collared individuals with formal training and assistance, qualifying them to meet the demands of the labour market."

Conveniently located near the Karama Metro Station, the DWC will initially offer evening classes for workers during the weekdays and will shortly be starting Friday classes as well.

Classes in English and Arabic will be offered to improve the language and communication skills of the workers. Other course modules include personality development and grooming, building self-confidence and developing positive attitude and interview skills. A comprehensive programme, which covers all the modules, will also be available depending on the needs of the applicants. All classes are free of charge and candidates will also be taught to make effective CVs.

The launch of the centre is a dream come true for the founder and Chairman of Danube Group Rizwan Sajan, who wishes to reach out to workers in labour-centric areas in the future. He said he launched the in-house training after an internal survey found that 95 out of 100 workers did not know English and were keen on learning.

"So many people I interview every day. When I meet them I see that person has a lot of skills but he is not able to present himself. When he comes for an interview he is not dressed properly and he is not groomed properly. He can't speak proper English and his CV is not properly made," said Sajan.

"Just by giving him a little bit of grooming and little bit of language skills, he can get a better job or get promoted. When our in-house training started showing positive results, I thought why only for my workers, why not for others," he said.

For enrolling the workers, DWC will be working with diplomatic missions of India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as well as Adopt-A-Camp, which has 43 camps and more than 32,000 men under its wing.

Founder of Adopt-A-Camp Saher Sheikh welcomed the positive step from the group saying, "Many corporate companies approach me for doing something for workers. But, all that is just programmes for a day or two. This is a very positive initiative as it will be a sustainable and long-standing one," she said.

Director-General of Dubai Government's Community Development Authority Khaled Al Kamda, who inaugurated the DWC, lauded initiative in supporting the government's efforts to improve the lives of workers. He urged other corporate giants also to come forward with such noble initiatives.


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