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The fundamental role of the Academy is to prepare talented young athletes from across the western Sydney region for progression to the elite levels of their chosen sport, through delivery of quality athlete development programs.
Access to these programs, which include technical, educational and personal development components, is through the framework of an Academy Scholarship, which is awarded to individual athletes for a 12 month period across a range of sporting programs. The Scholarship holder is also issued with sport specific uniform clothing and scholarship holders are required to fully commit to the Academy's procedural, behavioural and disciplinary guidelines.
The Academy currently operates eight different sporting programs and provides Scholarships to over 200 athletes each year. Academy programs provide athletes with controlled access to specialist support services, including coaching and sports science, and supports the development of high performance coaches at a local level. Programs also include educational components relating to issues in sport such as:
Each sports program offering scholarships require the athletes to meet specific and general selection criteria. In some sport programs, selection trials are held with dates notified through the relevant State Organisation to District and Local Clubs. Trial dates are also publicised in local newspapers and on the Academy's and State Organisations' web sites. Other sport program selections are based on previous athlete performances, recognised times or handicaps depending on the sport. Athletes deemed to meet all criteria will be offered Scholarships and must enter into an agreement with the Academy requiring commitment to the entire program.
The fundamental qualifying criteria for all Academy athletes stipulate that the athlete must reside within one of the Academy's recognised Local Council areas.
The costs associated with the provision of the Academy's talented athlete development programs are met through a combination of funding contributions, including Local Councils, the relevant State Sporting Organisation (SSO) and the Academy. Athletes are also asked to make a contribution to the programs to ensure commitment and ownership of their scholarships. The athlete levy for 2012/13 programs is $350 (inc. GST).