Cleaners learn life skills via app, earn phone credit rewards

Cleaners learn life skills via app, earn phone credit rewards

Ras Al Khaimah - The Smart Labour app has over 50,000 registered workers on board.

By Saman Haziq

Published: Mon 4 Mar 2019, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 5 Mar 2019, 10:45 PM

Hundreds of cleaners are now taking up short courses on different life skills through the Smart Labour e-learning platform. And each time they complete a course, they get phone credits as a reward.  
When the Smart Labour app was launched in Dubai, it instantly made waves in the blue-collar workforce and now has over 50,000 registered workers on board. Backed by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and Expo 2020's Expo Live programme, the platform recently reached Ras Al Khaimah where it has roped in about 800 cleaners from the emirate's Waste Management Agency.  
The short courses on the app aimed to teach them life skills, generating content that can help them improve their productivity and the quality of their work.  
Promoting the Smart Labour platform was part of the Ras Al Khaimah Waste Management Agency's projects for the Innovation Month, and to encourage cleaners to sign up for courses, the agency allocated a budget to give them free phone credits as rewards.  
There are approximately over two million workers in the UAE and sometimes, due to the education gap, they are unable to express themselves well.  
Thinking that such a situation may affect workers' productivity, happiness and overall contribution to the economy, IT professional Abu Muadh came up with Smart Labour, the UAE's first mobile app for blue-collar workers.  
Smart Labour founder Abu Muadh said: "In Dubai, we focused mainly on taxi drivers and construction workers. This time in RAK, we are focusing on cleaners and we have developed special content specific to their field, including what their employer wants them to learn in order to improve their work, and new things such as the importance of hygiene and being clean. A lot of content for RAK was generated by the agency supervisors and was related to their work, output and productivity." 
Besides providing educational tools, the app also involves residents in the project by allowing them to chip in for the incentives that workers earn as they finish courses, Abu Muadh said. 
"The Smart Labour app has an engagement platform for UAE residents to contribute 'minutes' or 'data', and this is our way of creating a new currency to do good in this country and help labourers to become part of all the benefits we enjoy in this smart world. The best gift for a blue-collar worker is education, as well as the telecom credits that they can use to talk to their families for free. 
"In all sectors, blue-collar workers provide innovative ideas to their supervisors, which never get reported. The Smart Labour app allows them to share their ideas via a voice note in any language. This is our gift to all workers on Smart Labour, to help them bring their ideas to the fore." 
Talking about why the agency decided to use the app to reach out to its staff, Sonia Ytuarte Nasser, executive director of RAK Waste Management Agency, said: "We have over 840 staff members, of which 820 I never get a chance to see as they are out on the field collecting waste and cleaning up different areas designated to them. But through this app, we can communicate with them, improve their lives, help them understand that they have a career with us, explain to them what the agency's vision and mission are, and let them know how important they are to us. 
"We use this app to send key messages to our staff and hear from them on how things are going and what improvements would they like to see. It is now a two-way exchange and helps us achieve our goal of improving the quality of our workers' lives." 
Residents welcome the initiative and a lot of them are happy to buy telecom gift vouchers.  One of the residents, who support the app by uploading phone credits for the workers, said: "On the one hand, it allows workers to become smart and earn rewards. On the other, it gives us residents an opportunity to sponsor the rewards and become part of this initiative from the comfort of our home." 
Abu Muadh and his team are looking to gradually launch the app across the UAE. 

How Smart Labour app helps workers
- Offers short courses on basic English, Arabic, life skills, health and safety, IT, local culture
- Most courses are taught through videos
- They earn points as they pass different levels
- Points can be redeemed as phone balance / credit 
- Gives them a platform where they can share their ideas with their supervisors via voice note.
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