The organisers of the Game Changer Awards have today, Wednesday 30 July, revealed the high level of Team Scotland athletes with a Scottish further or higher education background as the XX Commonwealth Games continue.
An incredible 133 out of 310 Team Scotland athletes have links to Scotland’s colleges and universities as current students or graduates, some 42.9% of the Team. Of this number, 114 athletes have a Scottish higher education background and have pursued a diverse range of academic subjects including accountancy, medicine, sport and recreation management, chemistry and broadcast production. Twenty-five athletes studied or gained qualifications at further and higher education level in college, including HND sports coaching with development of sport and HNC sport and recreation. Six athletes have studied at both college and university level.
Sixteen of Scotland’s 19 higher education institutions and 17 colleges* can claim current students or graduates in Team Scotland.
Earlier this year Universities Scotland and Colleges Scotland organised the successful Game Changer Awards to celebrate the varied and wide contributions of Scotland’s further and higher education sectors to the success of the XX Commonwealth Games. Awards were presented to institutions from across Scotland at a ceremony in Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket in six categories including research impact, international contribution, student achievement and learning and skills. The Game Changer Awards had the support of the Scottish Funding Council and the Scottish Government were recognised as part of the official Glasgow 2014 legacy programme.
Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling and Convener of Universities Scotland’s University Games Group, said:
“Team Scotland has the backing of staff and students from every one of Scotland’s universities and colleges as the XX Commonwealth Games get underway in Glasgow this week. That so many of our nation’s top athletes have also pursued a Scottish higher education is testament to the quality of facilities and support on offer from our universities.
“Earlier this year we highlighted how our support for a successful Games goes beyond urging on our athletes during Games time and how it touches every aspect of the Games from the research behind physical endurance and performance, the management and organisation skills needed to smoothly run a large-scale global event to encouraging people of all ages in Scotland to be healthier and more active. But for the next ten days we’ll be extra noisy in cheering on all of our students and alumni competing in the Games and hope they can win gold for Scotland.”
Shona Struthers, Acting Chief Executive of Colleges Scotland said:
“Colleges across Scotland are paying close attention to the Commonwealth Games and it’s exciting to see so many college students, past and present, represented in Team Scotland.
“Colleges deliver training and support to athletes, coaches and everyone who supports their performance – from physiotherapists to nutrionists. College students are also providing a great deal of support behind the scenes at the games, from events management students helping steward events to hairdressing students setting up shop in the Athletes’ Village.
“It is important that colleges and universities continue to work closely together to ensure one of the legacies of the Glasgow games is the delivery of more highly trained athletes and sporting professionals to keep Scotland at the top of its game.”
Scotland’s colleges and universities are proud to offer their student athletes world-class sports facilities and support services as well as a flexible approach to helping students find the right balance between their training needs and demands of their studies to help enable success on both fronts.
As it is very rare to participate in professional sports at the highest level for more than a few years, Team Scotland athletes working towards a college qualification or university degree are taking action to ensure strong employment prospects following their sporting careers.
Stew Fowlie, Chief Operating Officer at Scottish Student Sport, said:
“Scottish Student Sport is delighted to acknowledge the achievement of all the students and alumni within Team Scotland. This confirms what we have long known about the synergies between educational and sporting success. This also shows the significant commitment to sport in further and higher education – both at individual and institutional level. All of us at SSS wish Team Scotland every success and trust that everyone will come away with memories to last a lifetime.”
* The number of colleges recorded includes some that have subsequently merged.