OUA provides elite athletes with another year of access to flexible online higher education to support their demanding lifestyles

Recognising the importance of access to higher education for Australia’s high performing athletes, Open University Australia (OUA) - Australia’s leader in online higher education - is pleased to announce it has re-signed its sponsorship agreement with the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) for another twelve months.

Focussed on the importance of providing athletes with access to higher education in formats that complement their often-dominating training schedules, OUA’s sponsorship of the VIS is designed to support and empower high performers through a range of focussed initiatives. 

David Cummings, Head of Partnerships at Open Universities Australia, says the extension of this sponsorship for another year was a no brainer. 

“For many athletes, their training schedules and commitment to their craft has long been a challenge when considering the option of further studies. It’s for these reasons our sponsorship is designed to give them access to education in ways that complement, not compete, with their day-to-day commitments.” 

“Not only do we believe that education is valuable to all Australians, but we know that many athletes are looking to develop themselves professionally and personally outside of their sport to ensure they are futureproofing their careers. We hope this sponsorship continues to facilitate that,” Cummings adds. 

As part of the 12-month sponsorship, Open Universities Australia has committed $10,000 to support the following initiatives:  

  • Careers Week: In line with National Careers Week, a series of Career Development and Career Chat sessions hosted for athletes to build their skills and understanding of career development for now and their future. 
  • Athlete Development Workshops: Workshop sessions for athletes across a range of topics relating to personal and professional development for success in life and high-performance sport.
  • R U OK? Day: Raising awareness of mental health and wellbeing for athletes, VIS staff and the wider community.   
  • Performance Lifestyle service delivery for VIS Sports Programs: Each VIS Sport program has a Performance Lifestyle Adviser allocated to the Sport. The PL Adviser works as part of the Interdisciplinary team for that Sport to provide wellbeing, career and education, life skills and planning, and transition support for athletes.  

Leesa Gallard, VIS Performance Lifestyle Manager, says: “The Victorian Institute of Sport is thrilled to have Open Universities Australia as a valued sponsor of the VIS Performance Lifestyle team. The financial and educational support that OUA has provided and, by re-signing, will continue to provide ensures VIS athletes have the best education, study and lifestyle opportunities available to drive their success in sport and life.” 

Currently supporting 260 Victorian athletes across 34 sports, 24% of VIS athletes are studying, 37% are working, and 33% are carrying out both study and employment concurrently.   

“Overall, 94% of VIS athletes are pursuing a dual sporting career, which is testament to the ongoing work of the VIS Performance Lifestyle team and sponsorship opportunities like those from Open Universities Australia,” says Gallard. “We are grateful that we can provide these elite athletes with as much support as we can both today and into the future”. 

Outside of the sponsorship, Open Universities Australia is also the Award Naming Rights Sponsor for the VIS Performance Lifestyle Award at the annual VIS Award of Excellence ceremony—an award that recognises the athlete who has achieved personal excellence in their studies, career ambitions, and/or work setting whilst pursuing their dual sporting career. This award epitomizes the VIS motto of ‘Success in Sport and Life.’  

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