Better ecosystem for top athletes and performers at the UT

| Michaela Nesvarova

‘Our goal is to better facilitate top athletes and culture performers in their education or work at the UT,’ says Pien Krottje, a trainee working on project ‘The Campus as an Ecosystem for (top)sport and talent development’. ‘Essentially we want to support anyone who has a talent they invest a lot of time in.’

Photo by: Gijs van Ouwerkerk

Pien Krottje is a ‘Young Professional’ doing a traineeship at the Campus & Facility Management department of the University of Twente. She is leading a project that aims to improve education or work for athletes and top culture performers and to connect to regional initiatives related to (top)sports.

Students and employees

‘We have about forty athletes at the UT competing at national and international level. We also have talented culture performers, such as dancers, musicians and even models,’ says Krottje. ‘Combining these activities with studies or work can be very difficult. They often train about twenty hours a week, they travel a lot to competitions and performances. This makes it hard for them to follow classes and go to exams. We want to create an ecosystem to better support them. Whether they will make the Olympics in the end or not their identity outside of their sports or culture is important too.’

Support is currently provided mainly to students, but the UT can also facilitate employees who are highly involved in sport or culture, emphasizes Krottje. ‘Students receive help from study advisors, who advise them on how to plan their classes. Some also receive financial support. If it comes to employees, there is flexibility on when they can work, for example. In the future, we would like to create a network and provide deeper support.’

Open to all talents

The project started last year with a focus on sport, but Krottje wants to include a much broader scope of activities. ‘Yes, we still work mostly with athletes, but we want to involve more. For example, we’d like to include eSports in our policy. Essentially we want to support anyone who has a talent they invest a lot of time in. Anything from chess to horseback riding.’

The trainee also hopes that her project will lead to more awareness. ‘It is hard for people to understand what it is like to be a top athlete or performer. It would be nice if teachers took it more into account,’ says Krottje. ‘We all like to watch sport competitions and performances, so we should facilitate talent development of our students and employees. We should be proud of them and use them as our ambassadors. My goal is to share their stories and create awareness.’ 

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