University Centre Leeds (UC Leeds), a member of Luminate Education Group, has been awarded Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) status for leading the way in supporting student-athletes in Yorkshire.

The Sport England-backed programme supports young sportspeople on the talent pathway, giving them the opportunity to gain qualifications alongside their sporting pursuits as well as helping them 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 both education and sport.

Offering a wide range of sports qualifications, UC Leeds has supported professional athletes in a number of disciplines that include football, rugby league, handball, and athletics. Students also have access to industry leading software such as STATS and work closely with several professional sporting clubs, including Castleford Tigers.

Dean of Higher Education at University Centre Leeds, Janet Faulkner, said: “With personal fitness and physical activity high on the government’s agenda, exercise is essential to improving public health and professional sporting achievement. Our key priority is ensuring that the courses we offer are right for our students and help them achieve their full potential, preparing them for a career in their chosen fields.

“The recognition of becoming a TASS Dual Career Accredited Site is welcomed and will be beneficial to the university by attracting a greater number of talented athletes and building connections with other local sporting institutions.”

As a Dual Career Accredited Site, the university will join the network of universities that already partner with TASS, delivering core support services to more than 600 student-athletes each year, in everything from physiotherapy, nutrition, lifestyle support and psychology strength.

All Dual Career Accredited Sites receive training and a toolkit of resources to equip them with practical support and bring together all parties who work with the athlete.

For student-athletes, the academic flexibility means  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.

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.”