UEL to work with Volleyball England

UEL's men's volleyball team in action

UEL's men's volleyball team in action - Credit: Archant

University picked to provide Senior Academy programme

The University of East London (UEL) has been named as one of five universities to work in partnership with Volleyball England.

The national body has announced the next step on the England Talent Pathway with a new Senior Academy Programme being set up to give young volleyball athletes the chance to train and develop in a performance environment while studying.

The high quality accredited programmes will be on offer at UEL, as well as Bournemouth, Essex, Northumbria and Sheffield Hallam.

Matthew Tansley, High Performance Sport Officer at UEL, said: “For Volleyball England to acknowledge UEL in this way at such an early stage in our development represents a fantastic achievement for the University.

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“It reflects our continued investment in the sport and the excellent support we already have in place. UEL is the number one university for volleyball in London and our performances and recruitment will only be enhanced by Volleyball England’s endorsement.”

Tomasz Morawski, UEL volleyball’s head coach and co-ordinator, added: “It’s another step in our UEL volleyball programme development. Being recognized by the national governing body as one of five higher education institutions in the country is fantastic news.

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“We are looking forward to welcoming athletes from Volleyball England’s talent pathways.”

The university partnerships mark a key milestone in Volleyball England’s ambition to provide a pathway that will ultimately develop talented volleyball athletes beyond the junior level.

All of the selected universities are Sport England TASS (Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme) accredited centres (TACs). They offer a high performance volleyball training environment, including quality coaching, facilities and support services, combined with a wide range of academic opportunities.

This combination provides athletes with the opportunity of a dual career of academics and performance volleyball.

The introduction of Senior Academies extends the existing England Talent Pathway and will be the springboard for athletes who could go on to represent England in senior competitions as well as preparing them to play professional volleyball abroad, be that indoor in a club environment or on the beach in European and World tours events.

Maria Bertelli, GB Olympian and school and youth commission president, said: “I think this is great news and will be a fantastic opportunity for young athletes. From my own experience, my time at University was so important in my development – it’s where I realised what it would take to make the step into high performance volleyball and where I obtained my degree that I’m now using for my life after elite sport.”

The Senior Academy programme allows athletes to progress during a key phase of their development into the young senior age. Volleyball England is now in a position to provide options and information for talented athletes to be able to make informed decisions regarding their future.

Bertelli added: “I’m envious of the choice now available and the new support will help athletes and parents to make an informed choice about where is best to continue their development, as a student and athlete.”

Athletes involved with the England Cadet and Junior national squads will be provided with a ‘Senior Academy prospectus’ at the November national squad camp, which will detail the options available to aspiring volleyball athletes.

In addition, each senior academy university will attend the camp to answer questions that athletes, coaches and parents may have.

Each university has been part of a robust and lengthy process set out by Volleyball England, evidencing high levels of support to athlete development alongside provision of a high quality education with the focus of athlete development.

The process involved seven steps from initial expressions of interest to application, review, site visit, assessment and final selection.

The five universities selectd have been assessed against a set performance programme criteria and awarded an accreditation of Gold, Silver & Bronze.

Their accreditation level is a reflection of their volleyball offer to athletes and covers a wide range of areas including; facilities, individual athlete support, provision of core services such as strength & conditioning, physiotherapy, sports psychology and performance lifestyle (managing their sporting ambitions whilst achieving their education aspirations), scholarships, coaching, competition and academic courses.

Each university offers a wide range of academic options and provide a fantastic opportunity for aspiring athletes to continue to develop within a performance environment.

To be involved in a university programme, athletes would need to complete The UCAS application process as normal. the deadline for university applications for the 2015/16 academic year is January 15.

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