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Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Etihad Aviation Group has launched a landmark initiative in its support for Special OIympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 by developing an innovative e-learning course for its staff on supporting people with determination. 

With less than 50-days to go to the World Games kick-off on 14 March, the launch of the course marks the first time an airline has developed an online training module like this, that enhances awareness and understanding of people with intellectual disabilities, in line with the Special Olympics movement.

Recognising that each and every individual is different and their needs may vary, the online module offers general guidelines on engaging with people of determination with compassion, respect and tolerance.

Linda Celestino, Vice President Guest Service and Delivery said: “This e-learning course is another significant step on our journey to support the Special Olympics, and it’s especially apt that this falls in the Year of Tolerance.”

She added: “Whether our staff are volunteering at the Games, checking in guests at the airport, serving them at 38,000 feet, or cheering in the stadium, the whole Etihad family is looking forward to helping make this unique global event a success”.

Etihad’s 23,000-strong workforce can now take the module on the aviation and travel group’s online learning platform, accessible on mobile devices and tablets to enable personal development on the go. 

The course has a particular focus on supporting guests with intellectual disabilities, as well as those with reduced mobility, restricted hearing and impaired vision.

As the airport and aircraft environment can present a challenge to those who may have never flown before, Etihad’s award-winning Cabin Crew have also undergone specialised training for several months to ensure its global workforce is prepared to assist athletes, their families and supporters throughout their entire journey.

20 UAE national workforce have also been seconded to the organising committee full-time in a variety of roles, while an additional 800 staff members have signed up to volunteer during the Games from 14 March.

Athletes, their supporters and guests from over 190 nations will be taking part in Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 from 14 to 21 March.

Etihad Airways was unveiled as the official airline partner of this year’s Special Olympics World Games in May 2017, marked by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by His Excellency Mohamad Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Etihad Aviation Group board, and His Excellency Mohamad Abdulla Al Junaibi, Chairman of the Higher Committee of the Special Olympics World Summer Games.

This March will mark the first time the Games are being held in the Middle East, and highlights Abu Dhabi’s commitment to tolerance and support to the Special Olympics mission of creating a more inclusive, welcoming world for all. 

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