27/08/14

By Steve Moore, Athlete Career Transition

In the ‘real world’, retirement may be a joyous welcome break from the shackles of the workplace. However with sport, retirement does not bring old age and slippers, but instead another thirty or so years until the real world ‘retirement age’ and pressure to transition into a world far removed from the playing field or track.

For professional sportsmen and women, whilst in the game, every waking moment is devoted to their sport and retirement seems distant and far away. When athletes do then come face-to-face with their final whistle, the daunting transition leaves many unaware of which direction to turn.

When I was told that my professional rugby union career of almost 10 years was over I had no firm retirement plans in place, nor had I done any preparation. On paper, I only had basic qualifications and just 4 years’ experience as a rookie Police officer to draw on. The future was a bleak and scary place! However, I understood that sport had given me some unique skills and qualities that made me very employable to businesses.

It was an understanding of the value that retired athletes could be to businesses that drove myself and my brother Andy to launch Athlete Career Transition. Although we were able to understand and realise the skills that playing professional rugby had taught us, not all athletes make the connection.

Being driven by sport and often blind-sighted to other routes of employment, their experience of work is often limited. When Andy and I left professional sport, we felt that we could have done with a network of people around us to help us take steps into business… and that is how Athlete Career Transition was born; it is a business that solves a very real problem that we were faced with.

‘The skills that companies are looking for, are so often found in athletes, yet until someone points these out, they overlook their abilities’.

We give long-term career and personal development help, advice and support, to sportsmen and women before they face retirement so that when the inevitable comes knocking, they are ready to confidently move on.

The partnerships that we create are also hugely valued by not only the athletes we work with, but the businesses with the careers to offer athletes post-retirement. In addition to helping the athletes that we work with realise their after sport potential, our chosen Business Partners have the opportunity to work alongside some of the most influential and intelligent sports people of our time.

If Athlete Career Transition was available when I came out of professional sport I would definitely have utilised the opportunity to work with experienced and supportive mentors to aid my transition. As it wasn’t, both Andy and I have worked to create a network and pathway that aids elite sports people to get the best from their retirement. Implementing a plan and getting the most out of the pathway turns a negative situation into a positive one.