B-WISER: Helping elite athletes find new careers in Europe

Employers need to be more flexible to help elite athletes make the transition from sport to the world of work, according to initial findings from the EU’s B-WISER project, which seeks to optimise the employability and employment of active and former elite athletes.

January 09, 2018

B-WISER – "Be a Winner In Elite Sport and Employment Before and After Athletic Retirement" – is co-funded by the EU’s Erasmus+ Sport programme, and coordinated by Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) with the support of partners and experts from six EU member countries, including the Adecco Group.

It’s part of the Adecco Group’s commitment to make the future work for everyone, building on our expertise and experience in helping athletes into work through the IOC/IPC Athlete Career Programme.

We are currently supporting B-WISER through several phases to assess:

  • Existing structures and measures in support of elite sport and employment
  • The competencies athletes need to transition successfully into a career beyond sport
  • The added value for employers from employing athletes
  • Best practices for EU member states for helping athletes into work
  • Optimising the matching process between athletes and employers

The assessment phase of current support structures in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden is now complete with the following key findings:

  • Main barriers for employers: lack of flexibility and time constraints
  • Main barriers for athletes: lack of clear identity, self-confidence and social support
  • Only half of employers offer flexibility in work schedules
  • One in five employers believe athletes do not need workplace flexibility
  • There is a lack of support for athletes, and not enough athletes proactive plan for life beyond sport with career experts
  • There is a shortage of employment and internship opportunities, and time constraints on athletes make it harder to transition into work
  • Stakeholder cooperation is vital and adds value to the employability of athletes
  • Career support providers need to put greater value on exploring personal interests and competencies for athletes
  • Athletes bring self-discipline and good time management to new employers

B-WISER project will now build on these initial findings to establish the most effective and productive ways to help athletes move into a rewarding career beyond sport.

To find out more about B-WISER, visit www.bwiser.eu, follow @BWiser_DC on Twitter or click here for the full report from the initial assessment.