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The Singapore Perspective

A tie-up that gives access to top sporting talent

Stepping into her level 33 office at OUE Downtown 2, retired Singapore netballer Micky Lin, a digital marketing assistant manager at Deloitte Singapore, could be forgiven for thinking she is gate-crashing a Team Singapore meeting.

Scattered throughout the grid-like premises are familiar faces from her competitive days, from former teammates Charmaine Soh and Kimberly Lim to shuttler Derek Wong and pole vaulter Rachel Yang.

This is a result of Deloitte Singapore's partnership with local sports governing body Sport Singapore, under the latter's Sports Excellence Business (spexBusiness) Network for Athletes.

The spexBusiness Network was launched in 2013 to match athletes with prospective employers in the form of internships or full-time employment. Ms Lin, who retired from the national team in May, said: "Preparation (for life after sport) has to before retirement, and this programme gives me the opportunity to manage that early so I won't feel lost by the time I stop playing."

The former national captain, who joined Deloitte Singapore in 2014, added: "It's also encouraging to see the company get behind sport and see my colleagues coming down to support me during games."

Mr James Walton, head of Deloitte South-east Asia's Sports Business service line, said the company had been hiring former and current national athletes even before partnering SportSG.

More than 40 past and present national athletes have worked at Deloitte Singapore across all positions and specialisations, from financial advisory to marketing.

Mr Walton said the tie-up gives the company "access to top talent who may otherwise not be able to work in a corporate environment due to their sporting commitments".

Athletes who join the company do not go through a special orientation, but their supervisors are briefed on their training commitments.

Deloitte Singapore also created an in-house programme, Deloitte Ignite, which gives athletes competition and training leave - on top of annual leave - so that they can commit more time to sport when necessary.

The initiative also covers athletes who do not fall under the spexBusiness programme.

Of course, the onus is on the athletes to inform their supervisors of their competition dates ahead of time, to finish their projects punctually and to do a proper handover of their duties.

Mr Walton said: "Hiring athletes is something we are committed to for the long haul as we find that athlete support is mutually beneficial.

"We believe in the strength of employee diversity... (and) having athletes as employees adds to this diversity, allowing our people to interact and share with each other different unique skills, mindsets and experiences that are mutually enriching."

Chua Siang Yee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2016, with the headline 'A tie-up that gives access to top sporting talent'. Print Edition | Subscribe