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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Nino Severino: New project will help young athletes move into business world

PUBLISHED: 12:01 02 October 2019 | UPDATED: 12:02 02 October 2019

Young gymnast Ellie Conforth wil be supported by SportSkills4Business. Picture: KAREN CONFORTH

Young gymnast Ellie Conforth wil be supported by SportSkills4Business. Picture: KAREN CONFORTH

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In his latest column, Nino Severino shares news of a new project he's working on to help young athletes transition into a career in the business world.

The Duchess of Sussex speaks during her recent trip to South Africa - Megan is an inspiration to Nino Severino. Picture: PA SPORTThe Duchess of Sussex speaks during her recent trip to South Africa - Megan is an inspiration to Nino Severino. Picture: PA SPORT

During the last week I have been focused on working with a team of professionals, completing the final stages of a project I am very passionate about called SportSkills4Business which will be piloted in Ipswich with a view to expanding nationally.

The programme will be offered to both girls and boys, but it is a small group of businesswomen that are the driving force behind the programme, and we are now trying to identify talented young female athletes for the project.

There is one particular individual who is currently trying to show the world that being a young woman can at times be very difficult, that woman is Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex - and what an inspiration she has been to my team.

I am of course the chairman of The Elena Baltacha Foundation, tasked with the very important job of looking after my wife's legacy, and she was very passionate about becoming a businesswoman after her retirement.

Tragically for her, and for me, we never got the chance of developing our business together, but knowing how much she would have backed this project, gives me all the fuel I need to work to create opportunities for young girls in sport.

During a recent trip, Meghan attended a breakfast meeting with a very powerful group of South African female businesswomen to discuss many issues affecting young women, they were also discussing how they could work together to empower young girls.

There are great women in all walks of life, across the whole world, and definitely here in Ipswich. Two ladies in particular, Jennifer Leeder and Sharyn Scott, who are based at Birketts Solicitors head office, are simply amazing and have actually affected the way I work and see my business and professional world.

Jennifer has already offered to be one of our female business and corporate mentors and will have the massive responsibility of taking a young athlete under her very experienced wing - Ellie Conforth, an Ipswich-based GB international gymnast.

The SS4B programme will show young athletes how to focus on the skills they are developing through their sporting environment and culture, and ensure they can transition these skills to either growing their own venture, or finding a career in the business world.

The Duchess of Sussex joins in with dancers as she leaves the Nyanga Township in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: PA SPORTThe Duchess of Sussex joins in with dancers as she leaves the Nyanga Township in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: PA SPORT

Only very few will ever earn a living out of the sport they love, and at The Elena Baltacha Foundation we want to ensure that the years of hard work, dedication, discipline and commitment shown by our young athletes will in one way or another lead to a very rewarding life.

As I said I am very blessed to have some incredible individuals around me, and that also includes Jason Turner, the Director of East Region for Barclays Private Bank.

At our Gala Judy Murray event next week Jason will launch our SS4B programme to our regional business and corporate community. He will also announce how the WTA, the global governing body will be supporting our programme.

They have agreed for us to use their global network of professional job roles, to show how a sporting background can transition into a very rewarding life. Jobs such as physiotherapists, strength and conditioning coaches, psychologists, social media specialists, sports agents, media management, financial consultants, administrational clerks, the opportunities go on, and on - there is an incredible life waiting for many athletes after their competitive sporting careers end, many of them just simply need that early support and positive and guiding intervention.

The Duchess of Sussex has of course made gender equality and women's empowerment among her key causes, The Elena Baltacha Foundation salutes her efforts, and with the help of influential woman such as Jennifer, we hope to do our little bit right here in Ipswich.

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