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Date published: 12 April 2011

VISpartnershipOpen Universities Australia (OUA) and Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) today announce a new educational partnership designed to give athletes a head start in preparing for future careers.

Winter Olympic gold medal-winning aerial skier Lydia Lassila has been appointed as the OUA Education Ambassador and is studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce in Sports Management through OUA.

"Open Universities Australia has been a great option for me given I spend nine or 10 months overseas training and competing every year," Ms Lassila said.
"Throughout my aerial skiing career, I have wanted to continue my education and OUA has given me the freedom to do that, allowing me to study wherever and whenever!"

A key aspect of the partnership is the 'Open for Success' Scholarship Program, designed to assist athletes in pursuing their education goals alongside their athletic careers. Six winners are awarded two units of study through OUA each year.

OUA Executive Director of Operations, Michelle Beveridge, said OUA is delighted to partner with the VIS and support world-class educational opportunities for VIS athletes and their support teams.

"Studying through OUA means VIS athletes can continue their studies whether they are at home in Richmond, travelling to a World Cup ski event in Italy or a cycling race in New Zealand.

"The primary goal of these partnerships is to expand access to higher education. Our organisations have a mutual interest in shaping the future through education and training. This is because investment in lifelong learning can make a real difference to athletes and the VIS as a whole."

VIS chief executive officer Anne Marie Harrison said: "It is fantastic to be celebrating the 21st birthday of the Victorian Institute of Sport with this partnership with the OUA.

"We are about helping athletes to be successful in their sporting careers, whilst also supporting their education and career goals. What the OUA can offer sits perfectly with the busy lifestyles of our athletes."

The launch will be attended by Victorian Minister for Sport & Recreation the Hon Hugh Delahunty; VIS CEO Ms Anne Marie Harrison; OUA CEO Mr Stuart Hamilton; Senior Advisor to Minister for Higher Education Peter Hall, Mr Matthew Harris; athletes, coaches and OUA staff.

About Open Universities Australia

Owned by seven of Australian premier universities, OUA is the national leader in quality online tertiary education, enrolling more than 144,000 students since 1993. We provide access to more than 1100 units and 130 courses taught by 18 leading universities and other tertiary education providers around the country in: Arts & Humanities, Business, Education, Health, Law & Justice, Information Technology, and Science & Engineering.

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