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Education and sport a winning mix with new scholarships

27 September 2021

Australian athletes are being encouraged to balance education and career pathways with their sporting ambitions as the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) today launches a $200,000 education scholarships program.

The AIS is partnering with the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation to expand the AIS Education Scholarships program, which began as a $100,000 pilot last year and supported 40 athletes with education scholarships. Mr Wylie said the way Australian athletes pursued their sporting goals was truly admirable but added it should not have to be a choice between high performance sport and education.

“Our Aussie athletes are determined, resilient and tenacious in their pursuit of sporting success, but it doesn’t have to be at the sacrifice of their other ambitions, especially education and career pathways,” Mr Wylie said.

“Our Foundation is passionate about supporting this AIS Education Scholarship program because we want athletes to know that Australians support them on their sporting journeys and we celebrate their success, but we equally value the transferrable attributes and skills they can bring to life beyond sport.

“On average it takes a high performance athlete twice as long to complete a university degree because they are often juggling full-time training to represent their country. So, education can be a challenge, but it can also bring balance and a plan. Our ultimate success story would be to see more Australian athletes finishing their sporting careers with framed medals hanging on the walls, sitting alongside their framed university degree or trade certificate.

“Education and sport can be a winning mix. I’d encourage others to support this program. Let’s make high performance sport a genuine career path by supporting athlete education.”

AIS CEO Peter Conde said the AIS has prioritised building its Elite Athlete Education Network (EAEN) so that athletes had more options to balance their sporting careers with education. The AIS Education scholarships will be open to categorised athletes who are studying any of the EAEN-aligned tertiary institutions around Australia.

“Our Elite Athlete Education Network now comprises more than 40 universities and 11 TAFEs around the country, giving athletes greater choice and flexibility with their education support,” Mr Conde said.

“Our priority is to support those athletes who demonstrate a genuine commitment to study and can use their own experiences to inspire and benefit others, in sport and the broader community. The AIS wants to support athletes to be successful in sport, education and life. This initiative, supported by the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation, is a key component of that objective.”

Former world champion swimmer and now Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement manager with Swimming Australia, Linley Frame said: “The AIS Education Scholarship program can be a game-changer for Australian sport. It’s a fantastic initiative that provides the opportunity for athletes to balance their sporting ambitions and education.”

Grants of up to $5,000 are available per athlete. Applications for round one of the program are available on the AIS website and open today, Monday 27 September, and close Friday, 15 October. Round two will be March 2022. It is open to any categorised athlete who is intending to enrol, currently enrolled, or part way through a course/unit of study in period 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 that is part of the EAEN.

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