Posted: September 25th 2018
Doncaster College is leading the way with supporting talented athletes in education in England, having been accredited by an innovative Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) initiative.
The Sport England-backed scheme believes that every young person on a talent pathway should have the opportunity to gain qualifications alongside their sporting pursuits and have the chance to follow other interests and personal development.
TASS formally recognise 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.
Referenced within the Education section of Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson’s Duty of Care in Sport Review published last year, accreditation shows that a college or university has the ability to support students following a dual career route. Backing the scheme, she said:
“I believe we have 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.
As a Dual Career Accredited Centre, Doncaster College will be an important extension of the network of universities that already partner with TASS, delivering core support services to more than 400 student-athletes each year.
These support services include physiotherapy, nutrition, lifestyle support, psychology strength and conditioning and a private medical scheme.
For student-athletes, the increased academic flexibility may mean they have the opportunity to access online notes or resources, have a choice of assignments, are able to arrange catch up sessions with lecturers, or even reschedule deadlines or exam dates in exceptional circumstances.
Meanwhile for Doncaster College, the recognition of becoming a TASS Dual Career Accredited Centre is expected to be beneficial by attracting a greater number of talented athletes and building connections with other local sporting institutions.
John Heaton is a Sports Lecturer at Doncaster College and speaks of why the TASS accreditation is such an important asset to the College, “When I was studying as a mature student for my degree, I was also preparing for the World Championships as a Drug Free Bodybuilder. I found that balancing my hectic training schedule, nutrition plan, work commitments, spending time with my young family and studying very difficult and at times, stressful. I can therefore fully empathise with any full time student that also has a sporting commitment and sometimes, a part time job to balance with their academic achievements.
This is the main reason that we have really pushed for the Dual Career Accreditation here at Doncaster College as it will ensure that any student that has a sporting talent does not have to compromise either their academic or athletic potential. The programme that has been set up will aim to support the student during their time at the College but also give them invaluable skills they can take away either into Higher Education, full time sporting career or alternative employment.”
Sport England’s Director of Sport, Phil Smith added:
“Our future sporting champions shouldn’t have to choose between getting an education and excelling at their sport, but they are at risk of dropping out of one of them if they don’t get the right support.
“Since 2004, over 6,000 athletes have been supported via the Sport England-funded TASS scheme, 98 of whom went on to compete at the Rio Olympics.
“We’re excited we can now offer education institutions the opportunity to become a TASS Dual Career Accredited Centre, so they can access training and resources to help provide practical dual career support for athletes.”
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