Rider fulfils 24-year uni dream

Brighter future ahead: Gopinath hopes to open his own restaurant with the knowledge and skills learned.

Single father among five p-hailing workers to study under sponsorship

SOME 24 years have passed since he sat for his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) exams, but Gopinath Ramakasinan’s dream of pursuing his tertiary studies has not waned.

Thanks to a collaboration between foodpanda and Manipal International University (MIU), the 41-year-old single father can now continue his studies.

He is one of five parcel-hailing (p-hailing) riders embarking on a two-year sponsored journey to pursue their business management diplomas at the varsity.

To ensure they can fully focus on their studies, the riders, who have been selected among 60 applicants, will be provided with a free laptop and a complimentary hostel stay for the entire duration of the course.

The initiative is aimed at helping delivery riders enhance their skills and qualifications to advance their careers.

A foodpanda rider for four years, Gopinath expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to further his studies.

“I had dreams and aspirations, just like everyone else. I wanted to go to university, so I could have a better life for my family and myself. But I couldn’t afford to continue my studies after the SPM.

“My parents were already struggling to make ends meet, and I didn’t want to burden them any further,” he said in a press release.

“Being a rider has helped me earn the ability to take care of my parents and kids. It’s hard work, but I’m determined to stretch my limit. I’m excited about my future and I hope this opportunity will equip me with the knowledge and skills to open my own restaurant,” he added.

The collaboration between the food delivery platform and the varsity was inked by foodpanda Malaysia Logistics head Shubham Saran and MIU vice chancellor Prof Dr Jason Fitzsimmons in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing ceremony on Aug 21.

Shubham said through the partnership, the participating riders can tap into the quality and comprehensive education that the varsity has been offering for over six decades.

“This initiative will complement the many benefits and programmes we have already set in place to grow and upskill our delivery partners,” he said.

Welcoming the riders into the campus, Prof Fitzsimmons said the varsity is honoured to provide them with a unique opportunity to transform their lives.

“This partnership exemplifies the power of education to drive positive change. We hope what we have started today will pave the way for more strategic partnerships in developing the people and overall ecosystem for Malaysia’s gig economy,” he said.

According to the press release from foodpanda, the collaboration aligns with the commitment that it has given to the Malaysian government, following a dialogue with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Aug 8.

The session, which involved 24 p-hailing companies, emphasised the need to increase national funding for upskilling, training programmes and other initiatives aimed at improving the social safety net of the p-hailing rider community, it read.

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