Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, shares some words of wisdom with our Team Singapore athletes. (Photo by VOXSPORTS)
With two new schemes launched on the 12 of November, Team Singapore athletes will have a comprehensive support system as they pursue excellence in their respective sporting fields.
The Sporting Excellence Education Scheme and Sporting Excellence Career Scheme, launched by the Singapore Sports Council (SSC), is starting off with more than 1,000 athletes being involved.
Both schemes will help them handle both competitive sport and either their careers or studies.
Seven industry partners are involved in the Sporting Excellence Career Scheme, namely Adesco, Charles & Keith, KPMG, MOH Holdings, MSIG Insurance, Resorts World Sentosa and Starhub.
Key education partners supporting the SPEX Education Scheme include Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Management University (SMU), Republic Polytechnic, ITE College East, ITE College Central, and ITE College West.
Team Singapore athletes were present at the the launch of these schemes and some include canoeist Suzanne Seah, 2012 paralympian Maximilian Tan from equestrian, kegler Jasmine Yeong-Nathan, Muhammad Iqbal from silat, and wakeboarder Sasha Christian.
Launching the schemes, Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, and Chairman of the High Performance Sports (HPS) Selection and Performance Sub-Committee, said, “We want to assure athletes and their parents that there is a future in sports, not just in the sport itself, but in a second career after sports as well.”
Outlining the importance of a support scheme for those who strive to put the nation on the world sporting map, Mr Teo acknowledged this is especially true in Singapore’s economic landscape where “a job means almost everything”.
He also described the two schemes as “through-train” programmes where athletes start preparing for the workforce even before they graduate through on-the-job training and apprenticeship programmes.
And the schemes will prove not only beneficial to the athletes themselves.
“As an athlete, you need discipline, you need focus and lots of energy… there’s a lot in athletes to make them valuable to companies,” emphasised Mr Teo himself an avid sportsman.
An athlete who was grateful for what the schemes have to offer is Iqbal an ITE College East student.
“We don’t need to be so stressed about our studies during competitions cause now we can do our modules during our off-seasons,” says the Silat exponent who feels “honoured” to be chosen for the programme.
Industry partners have also been positive about the arrangement.
Charles & Keith, which has worked with Audrey Yong from sailing previously, has already offered another athlete, shuttler Tay Wei Ming, a position in the firm after he graduates in 2014.
“Our company is open to provide job opportunities and internships to provide athletes exposure to the corporate world…we pledge our strong commitment to support working athletes in their pursuit of sporting glory,” affirmed Ms Chia Wai Jyy, HR Manager of Charles and Keith.