The Western Region Academy of Sport (WRAS) commenced operation in July 1991 as a non-profit organisation. WRAS is one of 9 Regional and 2 Metropolitan Academies established in NSW that provide support to the region’s talented athletes, and to attempt to eliminate the disadvantages country and regional athletes face in comparison to their city counterparts. Athletes from throughout the region are offered scholarship in squads (Sport Talent Enhancement Programs) and individually (Individual Talent Enhancement Programs). This creates a significant challenge when scheduling trainings, camps and other events. The logistics of getting all athletes, coaches and managers of a squad together in the one location often requires staff, volunteers and parents to go well out of their way. Without the generosity and support of WRAS and community members it would be impossible to overcome these obstacles.
The WRAS catchment covers a geographical region of 91,522 square kilometres which is one of the largest areas covered by a NSW Academy. The Academy’s office is located in the CD Blake Auditorium, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst. The region covers nineteen local government areas: Bathurst Regional, Bland (includes West Wyalong), Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Dubbo Regional, Forbes, Gilgandra, Hilltops (includes Boorowa and Young), Lachlan (includes Condobolin), Lithgow, Mid Western Regional (includes Mudgee), Narromine, Oberon, Orange, Parkes and Weddin (includes Grenfell).
WRAS Management and Structure
Being a non-government and community-based organisation, WRAS is currently governed by a board consisting of 7 members who are nominated, elected and appointed from within the Western Region community. The Board formulates and reviews all strategic direction and policies of the Academy.
The WRAS administration office is based within the Gymnasium at Charles Sturt University. WRAS employs one full-time Executive Officer, one part-time Office Manager, one part-time Clerk and is supported by volunteers and university students.
To be a leader in regional sports development
To enhance experiences for talented sports people and provide opportunities for the wider sporting community
WRAS is committed to:
- Quality: ‘We deliver the best possible services’
- Integrity: ‘ We exercise the highest ethical standards in all our activities and interactions’
- Care: ‘We care about our athletes, staff and stakeholders’
- Responsiveness: ‘We consider and respond to individual needs supporting a continuous improvement approach’
- Innovation: ‘We respond with solutions that may not have been considered’
- Respect and Responsibility: ‘We expect the principles of mutual obligation and respect to apply in all our relationships’
The business objectives and strategies address five key areas:
- Service: Provide athlete and sport development that changes people’s lives
- Clients: Exceed WRAS is a vital part of the sporting community in western NSW
- Innovation/Industry: Embrace new and improved ways of doing business
- Governance/Management: Ensure best practice regulates government and management
Sports in the Academy
The Western Region Academy of Sport currently provides Sports Talent Enhancement Program (STEP) scholarships for basketball, cycling, golf, hockey and netball. There are also Individual Talent Enhancement Program (ITEP) scholarships for High Performance athletes, Lone Star athletes and Para-Sports athletes. The Board considers applications for inclusion in future intakes, from any sport recognised by Communities NSW – Sport and Recreation.
Other programs that the Academy provide to the Western Region community include Talent Search, Regional Athlete and Coach Education (RACE) workshops, SportsPlay for primary students, Rookie Camp for netball and community coaching courses.
Benefits of the Academy to Athletes and Coaches
- coaching by the Academy’s elite level coaches and visiting coaches from State and National bodies
- development of personal qualities such as self esteem, self awareness and self motivation
- organisation of relevant competition opportunities for squads and athletes
- individualised Strength and Conditioning programs and access to S&C interns
- sports science testing and evaluation
- educational information on a variety of sports science topics, presented via a range of forums
- optical screening
WRAS constantly seeks to improve its operations and the development programs it offers to the community. In partnership with the School of Human Movement Studies at Charles Sturt University, the Academy offers 12 month Strength and Conditioning internships for CSU students. These ventures provide significant benefits to WRAS athletes by providing them with access to specialist personnel and equipment and gives students of the School of Human Movement Studies practical hands on experience with pre-elite athletes.
The Western Region Academy of Sport continues to deliver substantial benefits to the community in terms of program development, specialist support, capital injection and employment in the region.
WRAS is a not-for-profit incorporated association, and relies on a variety of funding sources to continue its work. WRAS receives an annual grant from the NSW Government through Communities NSW and in kind sponsorship from Charles Sturt University. These two contributions make up less than 50% of the total annual income. Nineteen local Councils also contribute 5.238 cents per capita. The remainder of funding is obtained through squad athlete levies, sponsorships, sports body donations and other sundry income.