The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) has formally inaugurated the all-new Al Karamah Training Institute (AKTI), a tailored education center providing the emirate’s Students of Determination with an increasing level of independence and access to vocational training in eight main areas of specialization. Al Karamah Training Institute was officially opened during a tour attended by HE Dr. Mugheer Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi (DCD); HE Sara Musallam, Chairman of ADEK; and HE Ali Rashid Al Ketbi, Chairman of the Department of Government Support – Abu Dhabi (DGS).

The Institute is designed to empower Students of Determination - specifically those with Autism - with future pathways for independent living and employment opportunities. The opening coincides with April’s World Autism Month, which aims to increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism and foster greater worldwide support.

After welcoming its first cohort of autistic students in November 2020, Al Karamah Training Institute, which works with students aged 15-years-old and above, is engaging in a series of vocational workshops designed to foster hands-on practical learning experiences in key industries linked to the UAE’s future human capital needs.

To ensure that students gain the necessary experience that will equip them with future-ready skills, Al Karamah Training Institute is providing a number of workshops in eight key areas: Electronics & Robotics, Hydroponics & Aeroponics, Culinary & Hospitality, Creative Arts, Business Administration, Print & Design, Gaming & E-sports and Video Production & Editing.

The new institute will provide critical vocational opportunities for students, which will provide them with the knowledge and skills to play an important role in our inclusive society

Sara Musallam, Chairman of ADEK

Al Karamah Training Institute has also partnered with major industry leaders to create a cache of specialist certified vocational courses. With students able to gain recognized qualifications from UK award bodies including Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network (ASDAN) and the National Open College Network (NOCN), the UAE-wide inclusion initiatives have already seen some of the national companies, such as Mubadala companies Strata Manufacturing and Abu Dhabi Telemedicine Centre enlist as industry partners and commit to recruit and train Students of Determination to join their workforces.

HE Dr. Al Khaili, Chairman of DCD, said: “We applaud the launch of Al Karamah Training Institute and its efforts to support People of Determination. The result of our wise leadership's efforts to make Abu Dhabi an inclusive and empowering community for all, this inspiring new facility contributes to the continuous role of People of Determination in our society. By enhancing educational infrastructure and boosting creative skills, People of Determination can serve as motivators and catalysts for transformative social and fostering a truly inclusive community."

HE Musallam, ADEK’s Chairman, added: “We are dedicated to enabling high-quality education and future career pathway opportunities for the UAE’s Students of Determination, and are committed to empowering students to live independent lives. The opening of Al Karamah Training Institute underpins this commitment and is in-line with Abu Dhabi’s comprehensive People of Determination strategy. A progressive stride forward that extends options for families across the emirate, the new institute will provide critical vocational opportunities for students, which will provide them with the knowledge and skills to play an important role in our inclusive society.”

HE Al Ketbi, Chairman of DGS said: “The launch of Al Karamah Training Institute underpins our efforts to ensure diverse and inclusive human capital training opportunities are accessible to students of determination. By facilitating complementary frameworks for private-public partnerships across the emirate, we are creating secure and sustainable pathways for students of determination to find lasting careers in Abu Dhabi’s public sector that will significantly aid the happiness and wellbeing of our wider community.” 

The brand-new, purpose-built campus in the grounds of Al Karamah School Abu Dhabi consists of state-of-the-art specialist facilities including innovation rooms, a gaming room, a video production and editing studio, an industrial kitchen, creative studios and a sensory garden. The school and training Institute are operated by the UK’s Priory Education and Children’s Services, an independent education provider for Students of Determination and part of the world-famous Priory Group.

The vision for Al Karamah School was always to be able to offer students a pathway to their employment of choice, and to open doors, post-education, into the industries and professions they choose

Trevor Torrington, CEO of Priory Group

Trevor Torrington, CEO of Priory Group, said: “Helping to fulfil the dreams and aspirations of hundreds of Students of Determination is at the heart of what we do in the UAE. We are proud and honoured to be able to extend The Priory Group’s outstanding working relationship with ADEK, following the opening of Al Karamah School last year. The extension of our education services, through this new purpose built, state-of-the-art facility, draws on Priory’s expertise and experience, established over decades as a specialist education and behavioural care provider in the UK.

Through our partnership with ADEK, we will be able to take the educational development of Students of Determination in Abu Dhabi to another level. The vision for Al Karamah School was always to be able to offer students a pathway to their employment of choice, and to open doors, post-education, into the industries and professions they choose. We are extremely pleased that they will now be able to receive first-rate support, and expertise, along the way to realising their ambitions – enabling them to find greater levels of independence and opportunity.”

Families of Students of Determination who have already progressed from Al Karamah School to Al Karamah Training Institute have responded favorably to the increased options for their relatives. M.L., the mother of a student, Eissa Al Dhahri, said: “My son was not happy in his mainstream school, but since he shifted to Al Karamah, he has made great progress. We were thrilled when he was offered a job after attending the Training Institute, we are so grateful to the school and really appreciate the efforts and levels of support for our children.”

Amna Al Akbari, the sister of Ahmed Al Akbari, another student at Al Karamah Institute, added: “Since joining the Institute, we have noticed great changes in my brother’s personality, he loves the Institute and enjoys spending time with us.”

Khalifa Al Menhali, a 20-year-old student, said: “I have taken part in Electrical, Hydroponics, Arts, and Creativity workshops at Al Karamah Institute; I have learnt a lot and I now have a range of practical knowledge and skills - from how to design and build an electrical convertor, to the methods and techniques required for planting a variety of vegetables. In addition, the Institute has taught me important life skills which I use every day. I believe I can do anything and be anything I aspire to be, I would love to be an architect.”

Hamad Al Kaabi, a 19-year student, also expressed: “I’m grateful to Al Karamah Training Institute as I’ve gained invaluable skills, knowledge, and experience. This has enabled me to successfully secure employment at Mubadala Healthcare.”