Six more firms pitch in, but Teo wants wider net

Six more firms pitch in, but Teo wants wider net
Management consultant and bowler Jasmine Yeong-Nathan benefits from a unique flexi-work scheme, Programme for Elite Athletes in KPMG (Peak), targeted at national athletes working at the firm.

Six more corporations yesterday put their weight behind the Sport Singapore scheme that helps elite athletes make a smooth transition from their athletic to their professional careers.

Even so, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck - the man driving the Sports Excellence Business (spexBusiness) network - admits that more needs to be done.

Amore Fitness, Borneo Motors Singapore, DBS Bank, Deloitte Singapore, DHL Supply Chain and Sakae Holdings became the latest to come on board the network yesterday, making it a total of 13 companies since the scheme was launched last November.

Under the initiative, companies can offer internships, job placements and flexible workplace practices to the country's top athletes.

But Mr Teo believes that demand from athletes still far exceeds supply, adding: "We haven't met the fullest potential of this programme.

"The awareness is not there so we're trying to do greater outreach to let more companies know (about the network)."

Mr Teo, who also chairs the High Performance Sports selection and performance sub-committee, was speaking on the sidelines of a networking lunch where representatives from corporations mingled with athletes and learnt more about spexBusiness.

An advisory panel, consisting of seven industry leaders and headed by SAS Institute's regional vice-president and managing director for Asia Pacific (South) Tan Yen Yen, was also appointed yesterday to help ensure that the spexBusiness network is implemented smoothly.

Added Mr Teo: "Bringing more companies on board and matching them with athletes will be very critical."

National netballer Suhailah Kariman can testify to how the scheme has benefited her since graduating from the Singapore Management University with a business management degree.

A full-time special project executive with Deloitte since May, she said: "It's made the transition a much easier pathway.

"The companies on the list are all good ones.

"They are flexible and they understand when we need to take some days off to go for things like overseas training trips or tournaments."

This article was published on Aug 1 in The Straits Times.

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