Talented Essex athletes to  benefit from dual career scheme

  • Date

    Fri 13 Sep 19

Harry Hughes

We're leading the way in supporting talented athletes studying at university after being accredited through the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) initiative.

The Sport England-backed programme supports young sports people on the talent pathway to have the opportunity to gain qualifications alongside their sporting pursuits and follow other interests and personal development.

And by formally recognising an institution’s commitment to supporting student athletes, the TASS Dual Career Accreditation Scheme aims to allow athletes to reach their potential in education alongside achieving success in their sport.

Performance Sport Manager Susy Davies said: "We're delighted to have been awarded with this accreditation. It recognises our commitment to young talented athletes and their pursuit of continuing their education whilst also developing as an athlete. In 2015, we adopted a university-wide academic flexibility policy, giving students the opportunity to compete and attend training camps without academic penalty. The TASS accreditation formalises our policy and gives us national recognition of the support we offer to dual career athletes and we are extremely proud to achieve this award."

Referenced within the Education section of Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson’s Duty of Care in Sport report published in April 2017, Accreditation shows that a university or college has the ability to support students following a dual career route. Backing the scheme, she said: "I believe we have to a duty to help young people to achieve their potential, whilst prioritising their welfare, wellbeing and education. For the vast majority of athletes, skills and formal qualifications are needed to help them find alternative careers, either alongside their sporting activities or once their sporting days are over.

“For me the TASS Dual Career Accreditation Scheme is a vitally important measure to ensuring all athletes have the chance to pursue an education and enjoy a more well-rounded approach to life.”

As a Dual Career Accredited Site, Essex will be an important extension of the network of universities that already partner with TASS, delivering core support services to more than 600 student athletes each year.

These support services include physiotherapy, nutrition, lifestyle support, psychology strength and conditioning and a private medical scheme.

While some of the existing services delivered focus solely on developing the young person’s sporting performance, a dual career support structure and academic flexibility policies are central to the help available to athletes based at an Accredited Site.

All Dual Career Accredited Sites receive training and a toolkit of resources to equip them with practical dual career support and bring together all parties who work with the athlete.

For student athletes, the academic flexibility policies may mean they have the opportunity to access online notes or resources, are able to arrange catch up sessions with lecturers, or even reschedule deadlines or exam dates in exceptional circumstances.

Meanwhile for Essex, the recognition of becoming a TASS Dual Career Accredited Site is expected to be beneficial by attracting a greater number of talented athletes and building connections with other local sporting institutions.

TASS National Director, Guy Taylor, said: “We’re delighted to be awarding TASS Dual Career Accreditation to colleges and universities across the country.

“Dual career support is at the forefront of what TASS does and that’s why the Accreditation Scheme is so important for us in recognising those institutions who place precedence on their athletes’ education too.

“We hope that the academic flexibility policies put into place for the accreditation will begin to develop an effective and lasting dual career structure within each institution.

“Congratulations to the successful institutions and we look forward to working alongside many more outstanding colleges and universities in the near future.”