Workshop 2 at Leeds Trinity University, UK

Event Date: 10th November 2015

Address: Campus of Leeds Trinity University, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 5HD

The workshop was aimed at identify how we can further support our Dual Career Athletes. The athletes have all been allocated a Sports Tutor however we wanted to offer an interactive session to explore how else we can support them as Dual Career Athletes. The interactive workshop identified a range of issues that student-athletes face. All student athlete present were in their second or third year of study so discussed how having a designated Sports Tutor has made a difference since their first year. This is particularly important due to the level of work increasing due to them nearing the end of their degree. It was also highlighted by the student-athletes that other Universities offer scholarships that support the student-athlete and how up to now there has been no recognised scheme at Leeds Trinity University. 

The introduction of the Sports Tutorship scheme has allowed athletes to rely on the support available whereas prior to the scheme, support was inconsistent. Another barrier highlighted by the student-athletes in the session was how training camps and tournaments often clash with University. This was another element that emphasised provision for student-athletes was inconsistent as now the Athletes identified there was no worry of not being supported when having to combine camps with studying. Athletes also reported a feeling a lack of appreciation by the University however the Sports Tutorship programme has increased this as they believe now that this shows the University cares for its students and the extra aims they are trying to overcome. It was also identified that as a student-athlete with balance of being a student and being an athlete is difficult. This is often down to scheduling of lectures, exams and assignments. The inconsistent support previously provided meant that the student-athletes could never guarantee a solution to combining both however the introduction of the Sports Tutorship programme has increased the possibility of a solution being found. Students also highlighted that family support is crucial in them succeeding and they valued this support much more than any offered at the University. They said that over their time studying at the University the balance of this was slowly shifting but much more work needed to be done for the University to become a valued support structure. It was also added by one of the student-athletes that the Sports Tutorship programme has the ability to address this imbalance. 

The key aims of the workshop were:

- To identify the needs of a Dual Career athlete

- To identify the issues faced by Dual Career athletes

- To develop a strategy for combating these issues faced by Dual Career Athletes to take forward in developing a            Student-Athlete Support Scheme through Sports Tutorship.

This interactive workshop was extremely beneficial – it provoked discussions between student-athletes and offered an opportunity to share experiences. It allowed both the student-athletes and staff to gain an understanding of what it is like to be a student-athlete across various sports. It also offered the opportunity for staff to understand the demands of being a student athlete and how we can work to reduce the pressure on them. The aims of the session were met. A range of issues and needs were identified by the Dual Career Athletes. As these issues and needs were identified by the student-athletes the value of this is extremely significant as they are assisting in shaping the project and support offered. A number of recommendations were made by the student-athletes for methods to better support student-athletes. Including guaranteed support via the Sports Tutor, access to sports facilities, a balanced relationship between the student-athlete and the University. With each of them working as hard as possible for each other.

These recommendations will hopefully complement the Sports Tutorship scheme to provide a well-rounded experience for our student-athletes. The student-athletes reflected on the session, stating they felt it was a beneficial workshop as the interactive element allowed their opinions to be heard. This is something that they all identified to be missing in their previous years studying. They also aired their view that they were beginning to feel as if their choice to become a student-athlete was being accepted increasingly. Overall the session provoked intense discussion and opinions which can be carried forward onto effectively supporting all student-athletes at the Leeds Trinity University

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