RUPA partners with Open Universities Australia

By Pete Fairbairn, 04.07.18

The Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA) is pleased to announce the establishment of a new partnership with Open Universities Australia (OUA) until the end of 2019.

Australia’s national leader in online higher education, OUA, will introduce five Personal Excellence Scholarships to be awarded across undergraduate and postgraduate levels and studied either as a single subject or as a building block towards further tertiary qualification.

OUA will also be granted naming rights to the Academic Achievement Award, presented annually at the RUPA Awards Lunch in December to the current player who has undertaken and excelled in their education. It reflects the players’ dedication and commitment to his or her personal or professional development across a broad range of studies and is not confined to university level education.

Rosemary Towner, RUPA General Manager Player Development, said that this partnership would continue to encourage players to pursue study as stimulation outside of playing Rugby, as well as encouraging and emphasising the importance of future planning for life beyond Rugby. Importantly, OUA’s volume of offerings will continue to enable RUPA to provide access for players to a broad range of subjects, staying true to our remit to help players find tailored and individualised study options.

“In 2018, almost 70% of Australia’s professional Rugby players are engaged in formal study, something which we are really proud of and are continuing to try and grow,” Towner said.

“Our industry-leading Training & Education grants program paid out more than $350,000 in 2017 to current and former players, and this new partnership with OUA provides our members with further encouragement and opportunity to study.

“We’re thrilled to have OUA on board, and our Player Development Managers are already working with players within their professional programs to identify scholarship candidates.”

Rhys James, OUA’s Corporate Sales Manager, said it was pleasing to formalise the agreement after working alongside RUPA so successfully in the past.

“OUA has had an informal relationship with RUPA for more than six years and to formalise our fantastic relationship is testament to RUPA’s commitment to education and the flexibility OUA provides,” James said.

“The single subject advantage is a compelling aspect of the OUA model, as it allows players to study one subject towards their degree while balancing training and playing commitments. Studying through OUA supports the mobility of players and their travel schedules in trans-continental competition, and we’re both exceptionally proud and also excited to expand on this partnership.”

The RUPA Academic Achievement award was first presented in 2011. It’s’ previous winners are Ben Daley (2015), James Dargaville (2017), Matt Hodgson (2011), Tom Kingston (2013), Pat McCabe (2012), Alicia Quirk (2016) and Jeremy Tilse (2014).

OUA’s mission is to make studying at university possible for everyone, anywhere, at any time in their lives. They offer more than 1380 subjects and 170 degree programs across a variety of disciplines from 12 leading universities. This year OUA is celebrating 25 years of empowering more than 350,000 students to achieve their study goals and attain higher education qualifications.

They also enable their students to customise their university experience by selecting subjects from multiple universities, graduating with a qualification from the university where they studied the most. The flexibility of studying online also means OUA students are able to tailor their study load to fit around their availability and existing commitments. For more information, check out their website. 


Pete Fairbairn
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