Sheffield Sharks stars lend their support to inspirational education programme

16th December 2020

The city’s legendary professional basketball team the Sheffield Sharks is lending its support to an inspirational education programme for young people.

Top players are sharing their insights and business know-how with 21 students enrolled at the new Sheffield Sharks Learning and Development Academy.

Based at The Sheffield College’s Peaks Campus, on Waterthorpe Greenway, the academy aims to enhance students’ studies by providing an insight into the world of work involving a range of activities provided by Sheffield Sharks staff.

Captain Mike Tuck and player Marco Backovic are due to lead a live question and answer session with students exploring their careers, the challenges and how they’ve overcome them, as well discussing their educational background.

Anita Straffon, Deputy Chief Executive, The Sheffield College, said: “We are delighted that the Sheffield Sharks have signed up to our exciting employer skills academies programme, which provides so much more than a qualification by helping students to understand the world of work and go further in their careers.”

Mike Tuck, Captain of the Sheffield Sharks, said: "We, at the Sharks, value our community and the young people within it which is why we wanted to support The Sheffield College via the academy. Sport is not just between the competition lines, it is a major business with a lot of strands that need a skilled workforce to deliver and that is what we are here to teach.”

Sheffield Sharks is the latest organisation to back the College’s employer skills academies programme, covering sectors such as catering, construction, engineering, hospitality, information technology and media make-up.

The employer skills academies programme is continuing to grow and enhances students’ studies by bringing in professional organisations and projects to help learners develop employability skills, sector knowledge and practical experience.

Currently, there are 15 employer skills academies backed by Champion Health, Discovery STEM, Greene King, Kier Construction, Kryolan, Liberty Speciality Steel, Millgate, MSK, NextGen, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and WANdisco as well as the Sheffield Sharks.

The programme launched in 2019/20 as part of the College’s wider moves to equip students with the qualifications and skills that employers need.

The Sheffield Sharks Learning and Development Academy opened at the start of this academic year - September 2020. Activities include specialist speakers, masterclasses, demonstrations and project briefs set by the Sheffield Sharks as well as potential industry placement opportunities and experience.

In another project for the academy, Captain Mike Tuck and some of the players have created videos explaining what they do and the various roles that make the business run including non-player roles such as the business support jobs. Students will identify the key skills and qualities needed for those roles and discuss, with their tutors, why all of the roles are important to the running of a business.

Across the College, students are currently being taught via a blended learning approach with classes on campus and online, reflecting the Covid- 19 safety measures that are in place.  For more information about courses and our next open days, visit or call 0114 2602600.

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