Following a successful event at Bisham Abbey last week, Loughborough University hosted an Athlete Futures roadshow event on Wednesday the 23rd where 60 current and former athletes attended to find out about opportunities to progress in other careers after sport.
The Performance Lifestyle programme is all about helping athletes make the transition to life after world class elite sport. As Joanna Harrison, the Head of Performance Lifestyle at the EIS puts it, “our service is about enabling an athlete’s sporting and non-sporting lives to work together and complement each other.” She also explains how important it is that athletes “quickly” hit the ground running after they leave their sport; events like Athlete Futures aim to help them achieve this as smoothly as possible.
This unique project featured a careers fair attended by a range of large businesses such as Aldi, PepsiCo and Bank of Canada. These businesses set up stalls where they were able to inform the athletes about their work and employment opportunities after retirement. Athletes were also able to attend workshops where they discussed the many transferable skills they had gained over their careers such as resilience, determination and always aiming for the best results.
The event has come about through a partnership between UK Sport and the English Institute of Sport (EIS) to give athletes time to discuss progression into further careers. This is the only project of its kind within the UK and is part of the Performance Lifestyle offer for athletes on world-class programmes.
Joanna Harrison, Head of Performance Lifestyle at the EIS, said “This event is critical in terms of helping us to keep the conversation about future careers alive during the Olympic cycle.
“It’s really important that we get those athletes currently on world class programmes engaged in this conversation as soon as possible to make sure that their transitions out of sport are as smooth as they can possibly be.
“Performance Lifestyle is essentially a personal coaching and mentoring service for athletes that is largely focused on about helping managing their lifestyles whilst they are competing but really focusing towards life after sport and preparing them for that transition.”
Commonwealth Games gold medallist swimmer Sarah Vasey said “It’s been really helpful listening to ex-athletes who now have jobs in the real world. One thing that they all said was that you need to be prepared for making that transition; it’s about having plans in place.”
“I work really closely with Alex, the Performance Lifestyle Advisor at British Swimming; he helps me manage having a life and doing a degree as well as performing well at my sport.”
European gold medallist sprinter James Dasaolu said “This event is very important. Retirement doesn’t happen with a click of a finger; it’s a process. I’ve heard a lot of interviews with former athletes and you have to plan it a year or two in advance and see what you like. It’s all about actively looking now and sorting out what I want to do when I stop.”
British Judo’s Lele Naire said “Today's been a really helpful way to think about what will happen once my career in sport has finished. Our Performance Lifestyle Advisor made sure that we came here today; she’s quite new to the programme so we’ve been doing a lot of work with her.”