According to the Abu Dhabi Quality of Life Survey, PoDs have the lowest level of life satisfaction compared to other segments of society. Especially those with cognitive impairments that have been disassociated from society.
While there have been huge strides towards greater inclusion within Abu Dhabi’s mainstream schools, there is still a lack of professionals who are trained to support PoD students. Families often have to pay for additional support in mainstream schools, but the high costs mean that inequalities are compounded. Even if families can afford to pay, there is no accreditation system for these support professionals, and therefore no guarantee of quality.
The Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination (ZHO) is the Government entity in Abu Dhabi functioning as an umbrella for all humanitarian bodies, social services, PoD institutions and any future bodies established in Abu Dhabi for humanitarian goals focusing on PoD children. There is some provision of training and education. However, demands consistently exceed supply, and ZHO identified a challenge of getting PoD students out of their centres and into jobs.
A 2019 survey found that 93% of families with children or young people who are PoD expressed keen interest in culturally appropriate vocational and educational opportunities for their children. It is within this context that Al Dar Education (a leading education group in Abu Dhabi) and Al Dar Academies (a leading provider of private education in the UAE) were inspired to draw upon their extensive experience of educational provision to extend into high quality vocational education for PoD students.
The Atmah SIB involves 25 PoD students and provides them with education and vocational training. Ultimately, the project aims to help service users gain sustainable employment.
The ASDAN curriculum is being tested for local implementation. ASDAN is a British education charity and awarding organization. It provides curriculum programmes and qualifications to help young people develop knowledge and skills for learning, for both work and life skills. The adaptation of the ASDAN curriculum in Abu Dhabi is centred on giving all learners the opportunity and tools to discover, develop and make full use of their potential.
The program was in a 12-month timeframe, combining both theoretical learning and practical internship. Once an individual moves into employment, further bespoke support is provided not only to the person at work but also to the relevant employer.
• 6-month theoretical learning completed
• 12-month vocational program completed, including work-placement
• Permanent job secured after completion of 12-month vocational program
• Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
• Outcome contract signed (launch date): 2020
• Service delivery started: 19 Apr 2020
• Duration: 15 months
• Capital raised: total investment amount committed: AED 2,000,000
• Policy area: Employment and training
• Target population: 25 students of determination with developmental impairments
• Size of cohort: 25
• Outcome validation method: Validated administrative data
• Stage: Implementation