Business on board with sports

Business on board with sports
WELCOME: Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck (second from left) with representatives of the six new members of the spexBusiness network yesterday.

Launched last November, the Sports Excellence Business (spexBusiness) network aims to provide national athletes with flexi-work schemes while they chase sporting excellence.

The goal is also to open up post-sports career opportunities.

Yesterday, the programme received a big boost, with six more corporations - Amore Fitness, Borneo Motors Singapore, DBS Bank, Deloitte Singapore, DHL Supply Chain and Sakae Holdings - coming on board, taking the total to 13.

The network helps drive the spexCareer scheme, in the form of internships, apprenticeships, job placements and flexible workplace practices for athletes.

Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck, who heads the High Performance Sports Selection and Performance sub-committee, said the programme was not a form of national service for companies.

"(Companies) don't take athletes in as charity, they are coming on board as functional members, learning the skills required," said Teo.

"Athletes who can balance work and training have a certain discipline, determination and focus, and that's what make them different."

He added that the programme will match athletes with companies based on their technical and academic qualifications, as well as personalities.

The attitude that athletes bring to the workplace is a selling point for DBS managing director of group human resources, Theresa Phua.

She has already noticed how former athletes at the bank operate and carry themselves.

"We value the background, discipline and resilience that we've seen from the athletes we already have in DBS... they have qualities to do a job well," she said.

National netballer Suhailah Kariman joined Deloitte Singapore in May as a special project executive, and she is enjoying her time there.

"I love the work environment, it appeals to me because we're working in teams, and that is something that I'm comfortable and familiar with," said the Singapore Management University graduate, 23.

"This (network) made it easier for me to find a path into (the working world), and it's a good way to help athletes get where they want to be."

While current athletes may front campaigns of companies they join, Teo believes the long-term future of the project hinges on athletes becoming contributing employees.

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