Derby recognised for its support for elite student athletes

21 October 2020

The University of Derby has been officially recognised for the support it provides for elite student athletes to combine their academic studies with their sporting ambitions, after being awarded the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) Dual Career Accreditation.

The Sport England-backed TASS programme supports students who are on the talent pathway of their chosen sport to gain qualifications alongside their sporting pursuits, follow other interests, as well as further their personal development.

As a Dual Career Accredited site, Derby joins a network of universities that already partner with TASS, delivering core support services to more than 600 student-athletes each year.

These services include physiotherapy, nutrition, lifestyle support, psychology, strength and conditioning, and a private medical scheme.

The University will receive training and a toolkit of resources for providing practical dual career support, as well as bringing together all organisations and individuals who work with the athlete.

Ollie Shearer, Director of Sport and Student Living at the University of Derby, said: “This is a significant recognition of the opportunities available to talented young sportspeople at the University of Derby.

“It will ensure that students identified for the scheme at Derby will have the flexibility and support they need to organise their academic work, and access to teaching and other resources, in tandem with the demands of their sporting careers.

“We believe it will be a considerable attraction for talented athletes and help to build stronger connections with sporting institutions and governing bodies across the country.”

Two of the TASS Dual Career students currently at Derby are elite badminton player Abbygael Harris and national junior track cycling champion Dan Cooper.

Dan, who is studying Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation, has represented Great Britain in World and European championships.  

He said: “I chose to study at the University of Derby for many different reasons. One of the biggest attractions for me was that it is a dual career University offering support to high performance athletes in their studies and sporting life.

“As a high performance athlete I know how important it is balancing studies along with a sporting career, but at Derby they offer a wide range of support to ensure you are getting the best out of both.”

Abbygael, a Psychology undergraduate, has played for England in world and European competitions, and hopes the support she gets at Derby will help to establish her place in the senior national squad and boost her world rankings once competitions can begin again.

She said: “The University schedules badminton practice every day with additional strength and conditioning gym sessions throughout the week.

“Training here is great; the competitive attitude of all the players motivates me to perform at a high level at every training session.

“I am also given an enormous amount of support to balance both my academic and sporting pressures, such as changing my timetable to fit around my training schedule and with sport psychology, physio sessions and lifestyle meetings organised into my academic year.”

Guy Taylor, TASS National Director, said: “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.”

For more information about sports scholarships at the University of Derby, visit our website

Badminton player Abbygael Harris competing for Team Derby
Cyclist Dan Cooper in competition for Great Britain