The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) has launched a new hospitality training program for students of determination studying at Al Karamah Training Institute (AKTI), the first professional training center in the UAE for Emirati students on the autism spectrum, in partnership with Il Caffé Di Roma chain in Abu Dhabi.
Based out of Il Caffè Di Roma on the grounds of the purpose-built AKTI within Al Karamah School, the new skills development scheme offers a range of vocational hospitality training programs. AKTI Students training at the new café will get career opportunities at the café, other Il Caffé Di Roma branches, or join the wider hospitality sector upon completing their training program.
The new coffee shop was officially inaugurated today in a special event attended by HE Amer Al Hammadi, ADEK Undersecretary, accompanied by Hamed Al Hamed, Chairman of HMS, the exclusive franchise owner of Il Caffé Di Roma in Abu Dhabi. The guests were among the first customers to be served by student of determination trainees who are operating the café branch under the supervision of expert trainers.
“This is a major step forward in Al Karamah Training Institute’s goal to empower Students of Determination with future pathways for independent living and employment opportunities,” commented HE Al Hammadi. “This initiative complements our efforts to support students of determination as the trainees are graduates of Al Karamah School and all passed initial training stages at the institute. Today, as they join one of the most dynamic sectors, they provide further proof of their dedication to be active pillars of our community.”
With some AKTI students already starting their career journeys within the new branch, the café will see students gain specialized and individual hospitality training to open career pathways in barista and food operations, customer service, cashier, and other duties within the sector.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to put inclusion into action beyond education,” said Hamed Al Hamed. “We have already identified considerable potential among students who are relishing the chance to learn, engage with customers, and progress their own futures. It is truly eye-opening to witness their commitment. We hope this initiative will inspire more private entities to exert
more efforts to include more students of determination in the workplace, given their remarkable response to training.”
Lucy Wood, AKTI’s Principal said: “we see the breakthrough Il Caffé Di Roma partnership as a vehicle to spread greater understanding and acceptance of autism within the general community. Via this café, customers are engaging with students on the autism spectrum and gaining a better understanding of the immense potential of trainees. We anticipate the café winning widespread community support in the coming months.”