Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme accreditation

Sport scholar Fleur Schrader

We’ve been accredited as a dual-career athlete scholarship delivery institution

  • 19 January 2022
  • 4 min read

The University of Portsmouth accredited by ground-breaking dual-career scheme

The University of Portsmouth Department of Sport and Recreation 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 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.

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 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.”

“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, Sport and Recreation 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.

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.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE

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 teaching staff, or even reschedule deadlines or exam dates in exceptional circumstances.

Rachel Robilliard, TASS Dual Career Coordinator at the University of Portsmouth is excited about the benefits TASS Dual Career accreditation brings to student-athletes studying at the University of Portsmouth both within their sport and likewise in their studies.

“It’s fantastic to be recognised by TASS for the support our student-athletes receive at the University of Portsmouth. The Dual Career Accreditation highlights our commitment to providing an environment where talented athletes can meet their academic and sporting potential. In addition to academic flexibility and understanding, there is also a comprehensive programme of support through mentoring and workshops that provide strategies to balance student-athletes current lifestyles and develop transferable skills for when they graduate. We have built a sense of community amongst the athletes on our sport scholarship programme, enabling them to share experiences and best practice in balancing their studies with a hectic sporting schedule."

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

It’s fantastic to be recognised by TASS for the support our student-athletes receive at the University of Portsmouth. The Dual Career Accreditation highlights our commitment to providing an environment where talented athletes can meet their academic and sporting potential. In addition to academic flexibility and understanding, there is also a comprehensive programme of support through mentoring and workshops that provide strategies to balance student-athletes’ current lifestyle, and develop transferable skills for when they graduate. We have built a sense of community amongst the athletes on our sport scholarship programme, enabling them to share experiences and best practice in balancing their studies with a hectic sporting schedule.

Rachel Robilliard, TASS Dual Career Coordinator

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.

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

About TASS

TASS is part of the SportsAid family – it’s funded by the National Lottery through Sport England with a brief to help young sportspeople juggle the demands of sport and education.

Since 2004 TASS has supported more than 6,000 sportspeople - enabling talented student-athletes across the country to fulfil their academic and sporting potential.

TASS is recognised globally as a leader in ‘dual career’ and has worked with and advised bodies as diverse as the IOC, EU and many government and sporting organisations.

For more information about how we support talented student-athletes, take a look at our sports scholarship scheme.