Kirsty O’Connor reflects on the recent Athlete Futures careers event

It is no secret that athletes translate into desirable employees with their unmatched determination, incredible work ethic and ability to work as part of a team.

For most athletes their sport is the only career that they ever want to pursue, but unfortunately the reality for most is that sport is just the first phase of their working lives.

Some may suffer a career ending injury, others may not progress as far as was once predicted and others must retire early due to the short life span of a sporting career.

Having to find a new career path, and therefore a new identity, can be a daunting task for athletes, since they have lived and breathed their chosen sport for as long as they can remember.

So how do they decide on their next step and what resources are out there to assist them with this transition?

Last Tuesday the TASS team attended the Athlete Futures event at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, designed to assist retiring athletes in planning the next phase of their working lives.

The event, hosted by UK Sport in collaboration with the British Olympic Association, British Paralympic Association, EIS and Moving Ahead was split into two sessions: a morning of workshops and an afternoon career fair.

The morning of workshops included a talk by Career Transitions expert Kate Howlett, a practical session entitled ‘Making the most of my network,’ a co-hosted session by the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust and the EIS exploring the importance of holistic development and a fourth option focussing on how to develop a personal brand.

All of the athletes reported they found the workshops hugely beneficial and were able to obtain tips and advice that they could put into practice as they embark on their search for a new profession.

Almost fifty different businesses and organisations were present for the afternoon ‘jobs fair’, allowing the athletes to research potential future pathways and network with potential employers. Businesses ranging from Aldi to Allianz were represented, as were numerous universities and sport organisations.

The fair provided athletes with a contact in every possible sport related avenue imaginable under one roof, creating a massive opportunity for them and the chance to impress upon potential employers.

All in all the day was a huge success for both the athletes and businesses alike. It was very clear that through the workshops the athletes were able to add skills to their repertoire, learn how to ‘sell themselves’ and come to the realisation that sport has provided them with a great foundation upon which to build.

For the employers, the day provided a sea of ideal job applicants all desperate to dedicate themselves to the new task at hand – definitely a win-win!