Singapore's elite athletes often struggle to juggle their career aspirations and sporting commitments but the nation's top netballers may no longer need to do so.
Netball Singapore (NS) and services firm Deloitte Singapore yesterday announced a partnership to offer employment and education opportunities to netballers in the National Opens team, 21 and Under squad, as well as tertiary players who have participated in NS events.
Philip Yuen, Deloitte Singapore's chief executive officer, revealed that his firm will work with NS to offer internships and scholarship opportunities to eligible elite players.
Internships will be arranged to ensure work and sporting commitments fit, with time flexibility for competitions and training.
Scholarships will also be offered to players who are currently accountancy undergraduates.
Athletes bring with them strong foundational skills - including leadership, teamwork and a winning mentality, qualities that we value.
PHILIP YUEN, chief executive officer of Deloitte Singapore
Depending on skill sets, interns could land positions ranging from audit to human resources.
"Athletes bring with them strong foundational skills - including leadership, teamwork and a winning mentality, qualities that we value," added Yuen.
National players Charmaine Soh, Kimberly Lim, Micky Lin and Yu Mei Ling are employed by Deloitte Singapore. National captain Lin, a clients and markets assistant manager, is grateful for the support she receives from the company.
She said: "My supervisors and colleagues know what my commitments are like, and I can focus on my training and take time off for competitions without any worry."
Yuen said the partnership is "an enhancement of something we already have in place".
"Deloitte is an active member of Sport Singapore's spexBusiness network, a programme that encourages companies to hire and develop the careers of our national athletes," he explained.
Ms Jessica Tan, NS president and an MP for East Coast GRC, hailed the partnership, saying: "When you want to pursue sport in a very serious way, the way our national players are doing, it takes a lot of understanding and support from the organisations they are working for.
"Many of our players... want to pursue careers as well.
"The ability to do both will enable both the organisation to benefit from their talent but also, more importantly for netball, to have them continue to play."
The partnership will also see NS introduce the sport as a co-curricular activity and run programmes for students in NorthLight School, Deloitte's corporate social responsibility partner.