A Career Beyond The Olympics Now Made Possible
13 February 2006
Life And A Career Beyond The Olympics Now Made Possible For Kiwi Athletes
New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) endorses Adecco Athlete Career Programme
New Zealand’s Olympic sporting achievers can now start planning for a life, and more significantly a career, long before their competition days are over.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee has signed up as a partner to the Adecco ‘Athletes Career Programme’ (ACP). This follows agreement reached in February 2005 between the global leader in human resource services, Adecco Group, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), designed to support the career development of Olympic athletes.
Since 1999 the Adecco ‘Athletes Career Programme’ has helped more than 1500 former Olympians in 24 countries transition into the mainstream labour market. Last year when the IOC and Adecco reached accord on the ACP, 13 National Olympic Committees also committed to the programme which facilitates the integration of athletes into the workforce during and at the end of their sporting careers. The goal is to have ACP operating in 50 countries by the end of 2006.
Here in New Zealand the Adecco Athletes Career Programme found immediate favour with NZOC Secretary General, Barry Maister, a former Olympian himself. Mr Maister was a member of the gold medal winning NZ men’s hockey team at the 1976 Montreal Olympics and knows full well the difficulty many amateur sports men and women have experienced finding meaningful employment once their competition days are at an end.
But he says what made the introduction of the ACP even more compelling for him was a recent discussion with Georgina and Caroline Evers-Swindell. “I asked what their plans were after they stopped rowing and they told me they were very unsure about their future. They didn’t have a clear career pathway ahead,” he says.
“That surprised me. Here we have two of our top Olympians, both great ambassadors for their country and for rowing and they are unsure what they will do when they retire.
“So I’m incredibly excited about the Adecco Athletes Career Programme and what it can provide people like Caroline and Georgina, and many others,” he says. “With the support of this programme many of our elite athletes will not only be able to sustain their sporting careers longer, but they will also look forward to a more certain future when it is time to move on.”
The Adecco Athletes Career Programme will run alongside a SPARC initiative, Avenues, which already has in place a number of Athletes Career Employment (ACE) advisors who have hundreds of New Zealand’s elite athletes on their books.
According to Adecco New Zealand Chief Executive, Fleur Board, the Athletes Career Programme is “not just about helping athletes at the end of their high performance career. It is designed to facilitate their career development in parallel with their sport.”
The athletes are taken through a ‘Milestones Programme’ developed by Lee Hecht Harrison, Adecco’s out-placement division. This takes them through a step-by-step process which carefully determines their ideal career pathway.
“Certainly there will be some who can’t commit to anything until they are close to winding up their sport,” she says. “But ideally the programme aims to work with athletes into, during and as they exit their playing days. We want to link them with employers and careers to remove all that peripheral pressure which can often inhibit peak performance during their competitive years.
“Adecco has already placed more than 1000 Olympic athletes in Europe into the workplace, and we are looking forward to introducing their programme in New Zealand in partnership with the NZOC and SPARC.” There is no cost to the athletes or their sports as Adecco charges no fees for implementing this programme for Olympic athletes.
“Typically an athletes focus on sporting success often involve huge personal cost as well as sacrifice,” she says. “At Adecco our specialists will be working with these athletes and employers who share similar corporate social responsibility goals.”
Adecco SA is the global leader in employment services, connecting people to jobs and jobs to people through its network of more than 6,600 offices in 75 countries around the world. In New Zealand, they have 20 offices throughout the country with a recognised expertise in permanent, temporary and contract staffing. Adecco’s 100 New Zealand staff assign more than 2,500 employees to customers each week.