Praise for University’s Nationally Recognised Elite Athlete Support
Thursday, 02 December 2021
Elite athletes studying at the University of Worcester have praised the support they have received, as it celebrates national accreditation for a third year.
The University has once again been accredited by the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) Dual Career initiative. This Sport England-backed programme supports young sportspeople on the talent pathway to have the opportunity to gain qualifications or follow other interests alongside their sporting pursuits.
Accreditation recognises an institution’s commitment to supporting student-athletes, such as third year Biology student Matthew Collinge, 21, who does flat water marathon and sprint kayaking and was placed 2nd in the 1,000m men’s Under 23 doubles at the National Sprint Regatta this year. His dream is to compete for Great Britain internationally. He combines around 20 hours of training a week, as well as competitions, with his study commitments and is on the University’s Sports Scholarship programme. This gives elite athlete students financial and academic support, as well as access to specialist lifestyle advice and support services like physiotherapy, nutrition, strength and conditioning, and psychology.
He said access to regular physiotherapy had been especially helpful, as well as a lifestyle advisor. “It helps in terms of managing my academic and sports work, to make a timetable and to look at training load,” he added. “But also there’s the social interaction – you are reminded that it’s not all about training and academic work, you have got to enjoy it as well.”
He said the financial support he had received had helped take the edge off the costs of travelling for competing and equipment. “The scholarships have enabled me to make the most of my studies and sport, and all the things they have on offer makes you realise what you need to be doing to achieve those goals,” he said.
Evie Stewart-Davis, 20, is on the Scholarship programme for her elite level netball umpiring, in which she is working towards national level accreditation. The PE and Sports Coaching Science student, who umpires five matches a week alongside six hours of training, said: “The system at Worcester is amazing. Every time they do something for me, I’m astounded at how much effort they’re putting into me as an individual. It’s just lots of people coming together to make sure I’m okay, and the academic support as well has been amazing.
“The lifestyle advisor has worked hard to make sure I’m balancing things correctly. It’s making sure I’m balanced and planning my timetable perfectly so I know where I am every second of every day. It’s an ecosystem of support that’s helped me. Without that I don’t think I’d be where I am and have done what I’ve done.”
The University is one of only 39 higher education institutions in the country with the TASS Dual Career accreditation. These sites are assessed based on their ability to support talented athletes on the academic side of their development. The scheme acknowledges an enhanced level of academic flexibility and understanding within an institution, allowing talented athletes to balance their studies with a hectic sporting schedule.