Boost for athletes

Boost for athletes
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong (centre) speaking to athletes at the spexCareer Scheme appreciation lunch at the Lexus showroom.

When Singapore's top male shuttler Derek Wong finishes training these days, he would spend time at home poring through various sources of information and making sense of them.

One might think that he is perhaps researching on his next opponent's weaknesses, or studying his own competition videos.

But, in reality, the Commonwealth Games men's singles silver medallist is actually hunkering down for his work as a research analyst with Deloitte Singapore, which he joined in July this year on a six-month contract with the help of the Sports Excellence Career (spexCareer) Scheme.

"I am thankful to Deloitte's tremendous support and for arranging a customised work schedule that allows me to work flexibly from home around my training schedule," said the Singapore Institute of Management accounting undergraduate, who is currently on a study break.

"This support will ensure that my sporting focus is not compromised in any way. Full-time athletes like myself will be able to give 100 per cent in sports, when we know that companies are extending their arms such that we do not need to worry about our future career plans."

Wong is among 37 athletes who have benefited from spexCareer, which offers carded national athletes with internship and work opportunities with flexible working hours, among other benefits.

The initiative was launched under the aegis of the Sports Excellence Business (spexBusiness) Network for Athletes in November last year.

The scheme is administered by the Athlete Services and Development Department of the Singapore Sports Institute, which comes under Sport Singapore.

At an appreciation luncheon yesterday at the Borneo Motors Singapore's Lexus Boutique in Leng Kee, seven companies joined the spexBusiness network, bringing its membership to 20, in 16 industries.

Softballer Oon Sheng Wei is another athlete who has benefited from the scheme.

The 24-year-old outfielder, currently doing his second internship with KPMG, is pondering about his future in his sport, but has already secured a full-time job with DBS from next July after he graduates from the National University of Singapore.


"It's really good when you have somebody looking out for you, when you train six days a week and get home after 11pm. It's hard to spend a lot of time looking for jobs, so this really helps," said the business undergraduate.

SportSG chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin said: "Corporate Singapore has a big part to play in supporting Team Singapore, but we want to make sure that people understand that Team Singapore has a lot of value to Corporate Singapore.

"Team Singapore athletes are actually excellent leaders and employees, and they bring a lot of value to the companies.

"Having 37 athletes in the first year is excellent, and the target should be to enable all athletes who are ready for employment to find jobs in good companies who value their leadership and skills."

This article was first published on Dec 13, 2014.
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