UCLan accredited by ground-breaking dual career scheme for supporting student athletes

University backed by scheme to help students achieve sporting and academic success

By Aimee Seddon
Monday, 7th February 2022, 3:45 pm

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has been shown to be leading the way with supporting talented athletes in education, as it has been accredited by an innovative Sport England-backed initiative.

The Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) programme supports young sportspeople on the talent pathway to have the opportunity to gain qualifications alongside their sporting pursuits, follow other interests, as well as further their personal development.

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.

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Sports biomechanics at the University of Central Lancashire, which has just been accredited by The Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme.

Dr Adrian Ibbetson, Director of Sport at UCLan, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic for us to get TASS accreditation as it’s great recognition for the university.

“We are passionate about sport and are proud to offer the very best in teaching and learning alongside state-of-the-art sporting and lab facilities which underpins performance support services. In combination with our academic and mental health support, it means our students are equipped to compete at the highest level possible while gaining academic qualifications that will aid their future careers.”

Adrian added: “Our enthusiasm and commitment for sport and physical activity runs throughout the institution. For example, we offer all our students free access to sports facilities, either our own fantastic facilities, the Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre and the Sports Arena, in Preston or to public facilities at our Burnley and Westlakes campuses. We also provide students with free access to an App that offers them flexible on demand activities.”

As a dual career accredited site, UCLan will be an 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, offered by highly qualified and experienced UCLan staff from the university's academic sport portfolio, include physiotherapy, nutrition, lifestyle support, psychology strength and conditioning and a private medical scheme.

The dual career approach means that support structures and academic flexibility policies are in place and are available to help student athletes based at an accredited site, for example this may mean they have the opportunity to access online notes or resources, are able to arrange catch up sessions with teaching staff, or even reschedule deadlines or exam dates in exceptional circumstances.

For UCLan, 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 England.

“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.”

Referenced within the Education section of Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson’s Duty of Care in Sport Review published in 2017, accreditation shows that a college or university has the ability to support students following a dual career route.

Backing the scheme, Tanni Grey-Thompson 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.

“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.”