Retired karateka Julius Piku has praised an IBS University and Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee (PNGOC) initiative which is providing him with a future beyond sport.
The Athlete Excellence Programme is a scholarship scheme run by the University in collaboration with the PNGOC, with athletes coming from karate, volleyball, basketball and football.
Papua New Guinean Piku competed at the Pacific Games in 2011 and has been attending the course since February.
He claimed the programme had helped him to plan for his future.
"We will not compete forever," said Piku.
"We will all retire one day and need a qualification to get a job or do something for ourselves to sustain us and our families."
PNGOC secretary general Auvita Rapilla thanked the IBSU for affording Team PNG athletes the opportunity to take steps towards a professional career.
"Education is an important foundation in personal development and IBSU offers high-quality education," she said.
"We are grateful for their support and thank them for making this available to Team PNG athletes under this scholarship programme.
"Our athletes spend most of their lives representing our country and many of them do not get the chance to pursue their educational qualifications.
Rapilla commended the athletes for taking the initiative to pursue an education.
"We are proud to make this available to them with the support of one of the leading educational institutions in the country," she added.
A group of eight Team PNG athletes have enrolled on the programme, which has been running for three years.
Symoena Gesa, former PNG women's basketball rep, claimed a proper education qualification was expensive and explained that most people struggled to achieve their career goals.
"Thanks to IBS University and the PNG Olympic Committee, we have this opportunity to set ourselves up for life and I look forward to learning as much as I can and growing with this knowledge," she said.
A total of 20 Team PNG athletes have so far benefitted from the programme and Rapilla claimed the PNGOC wants to see more athletes use their qualification to establish themselves as productive members of their community.
PNGOC facilitates the scholarship applications with endorsement from their respective National Federations and submits it to IBSU for confirmation.