Brussels, 15 November 2016
On 15 November 2016, the Sport Intergroup hosted the conference ‘Dual Careers: how to combine education and work with sport?’ at the European Parliament.
Marc Tarabella MEP, co-President of the Sport intergroup, gave an opening address in which he spoke of how elite sportsmen struggle to find a balance between sport and studies. He cited the statistic that one out of two youths abandon the practice of sport because of time issues.
The first panel focused on how to ensure quality of dual career services, and was moderated by Santiago Fisas Ayxela MEP.
Cees Vervoorn, former swimmer and Top Sport and currently Education lecturer at the University of Amsterdam, presented the ‘Study on the minimum requirements for dual career services,’ which defines dual careers as a successful combination of training and work with sport to enable an individual to live a fulfilling life. This in turn allows young people to excel. The study aims to develop an assessment tool for the self-evaluation of countries on the issue of dual careers, to be implemented by the Ministry of Education.
Antonio Sanchez Pato, Professor of Philosophy of Sport and Dean of the Faculty of Sport at the Catholic University of Murcia, emphasized the necessity to educate and train athletes, so that they can have a profession after they retire from sport. Pato called for the creation of a forum for discussion of these issues under the guidance of the Sport Intergroup.
Paul Wylleman, Professor of Sport Psychology and Psychology of Leisure at the Free University of Brussels (VUB), outlined the Gold in Education and Elite sport (GEES) project funded by Erasmus+ and of which the VUB is a partner. The project aims to connect a pool of 9,400 dual career athletes across 9 European countries with 45 researchers and lead practitioners, united to define a set of key competences for a successful dual career.
Jaroslav Straka, President of the European University Hockey Association (EUHA), explained how his organisation enables students to overcome barriers. The League has run for three seasons so far and the number of participants is expanding exponentially.
The second panel focused on how to effectively support athletes and was moderated by Bogdan Wenta MEP.
Wolfgang Stockinger, Head of Career Development Austria at Verein KADA, cited the statistic that at the end of their sports career, only 2% of Austrian athletes were set for life financially. 49% had no finished vocational training at the end of their career. KADA, financed by the Ministries of Sport and Labour, delivers dual career services to 500 athletes.
Guy Taylor, Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) National Manager & Chair of EU Expert Group Human Resource Management in Sport, underlined TASS’ goal to not create services for dual careers but partnerships instead. According to Taylor, there is no need to create new systems, as the necessary systems already exist. It is only necessary to create a partnership between the sectors, bringing four parts together: education, sport, the athlete and the X factor brought by TASS.
‘Dual careers means: developing a partnership to provide an opportunity for an individual to reach their sporting, academic, work and life potential’ – G. Taylor
Laura Capranica, President of European Athlete as Student (EAS) Network, presented her organisation’s aims: to create methodology and pedagogy, to create the enrolment process of dual career students and to adjust curricula based on a commonly developed study model for athletes.
If you would like to learn more about the topic of dual careers, please read the think tank Sport and Citizenship’s publication ‘Sport, Education and Training in Europe,’ which conducts a through analysis of the subject.