The University of Worcester is one of only a handful in the Country to gain accreditation to support talented athletes in education.
The University is now a TASS (Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme) Dual Career Accreditation Site, in recognition of its ability to support athletes to reach their potential in education while achieving success in their sport. The programme is backed by Sport England.
Mick Donovan, the University of Worcester’s Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (Inclusive Sport & Educational Development), said: “We have been working creatively within the School of Sport and Exercise Science to support our student/athletes for many years. There are many challenges for students when following a dual pathway and we are committed to giving all of our students every opportunity to reach their full potential as both scholars and as athletes. This formal accreditation is warmly received and we look forward to developing our work in this area even further and welcoming many more student/athletes in the future.”
The University’s support for talented athletes includes physiotherapy, nutrition, lifestyle support, psychology, and strength and conditioning, as well as academic flexibility policies to allow students to complete their studies without compromising their training or tournament schedules.
Since 2015 the University has supported 145 students through its scholarship programme, who have represented in a range of sports, including athletics star Matthew Hudson-Smith, England ladies rugby squad member, Lark Davies, GB women’s wheelchair basketball co-captain, Sophie Carrigill, and England netballer, Iona Darroch.
Cara Brincatt, who plays for England Ladies U20s rugby and is currently in the second year of her Physical Education and Sports Studies degree at Worcester, said: “The University of Worcester scholarship programme has made my sporting life easier, knowing that academically I am supported and can achieve my best and when it comes to the rugby pitch, I have no other worries and can perform to my highest ability.”
Referenced within the Education section of Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson’s Duty of Care in Sport Review 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.”
Ten universities in the UK have been accredited under the scheme.
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.”