Great Britain stalwarts Kieron Achara and Rachael Vanderwal have obtained a Masters of Science in Leadership and Management from the Business School of the Northumbria University.
The pair were among ten graduates of TIME-OUT, a programme launched by FIBA Europe and its national federations in 2017.
Former GB men’s Archara captain and current women’s team star Vanderwal furthered their education along side fellow former and current players Anna Barthold, Raffaella Masciadri, Natasa Kovacevic, Pavel Pumprla, Sandro Nicevic, Nadia Mossong, Tina Stein and Virgil Stanescu.
Achara, who represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics and also played at three FIBA EuroBasket tournaments, attended the graduation ceremony last week in Newcastle with Barthold, Mossong and Stanescu.
He said: “First and foremost, I feel indebted to FIBA for coming up with the idea and allowing me the opportunity to further my education.
“The reality is, I’ve made friends that I never would have made, from all walks of life, from different countries and we still keep in touch and we share ideas for the future. That in itself is a credit to the programme.
“Secondly, my confidence for life beyond sport has improved drastically. I actually completed my Masters understanding that I can have success after basketball just as much as I did on the court. That’s a real lesson that I’ve learned from this programme.”
TIME-OUT was launched at FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2017, with FIBA Europe and its national federations unveiling the initiative to assist elite basketball players at the end of their playing careers across Europe make the transition from sport into work.
This came on the back of recommendations by the European Commission on dual careers and the reintegration of professional sportspersons into the labor market.