Amsterdam Olympic Stadium STARTING 11

STARTING 11 Conference in the Amsterdam Olympic Stadium

We are delighted to announce that the STARTING 11 Conference will take place on 19 November 2021 in the historic Amsterdam Olympic Stadium, site of the Olympic Games 1928.

Get to know the value of the European Dual Career Toolkit first-hand. Attend free workshops delivered by acknowledged dual career experts. Network with like-minded professionals from across the EU. And experience one of the most iconic buildings in European sport. The STARTING 11 Conference 2021 will represent a unique platform for the international dual career and athlete support community.

Taking part is everything

Tickets will be limited. Therefore, secure your early-bird ticket by pre-registering for the event via email to info@starting11.eu. The full conference programme will be published in September 2021.


STARTING 11, research

STARTING 11 investigates EU dual career service demands

STARTING 11, designed by the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) and TW1N, is a sport project co-funded by the EU. In a unique constellation, leading European institutions in dual career practice and research unite to create the very first European Dual Career Toolkit to assist EU stakeholders in sport, education and the labour market in implementing and further professionalizing their athlete support. Yet, what is the specific service demand in the European Union?

The types of EU actors providing dual career support for athletes are numerous. Sport? National Olympic Committees (NOC), high-performance centres, sport federations, or clubs. Education? Sport schools, universities, or other adult education institutions. Labour market? Private companies, public employers, or job agencies for athletes. Who else? National lead agencies, to be found in some EU member states to centrally execute dual career policies. In this regard, both the mere existence and, above, the quality of dual career services are key to the pathway sustainability of thousands of European athletes.

Investigating European service demands

What are main blockers to dual career development? What type of tools do dual career stakeholders require to boost the implementation of athlete support in their systems? Consequently, the first step of the project was marked by the analysis of the specific European dual career service demand. This month, TW1N Founder & CEO Wolfgang Stockinger and Dennis van Vlaanderen (AUAS) presented the preliminary research results at the EAS Conference 2019 in Falun, Sweden.

Our research targeted both systems and athletes. In a broad online survey, we gathered 159 responses of dual career service providers from all 28 EU member states. Simultaneously, we conducted focus group interview with athletes from 9 different countries across Europe.

STARTING 11 EU Online Survey
Wolfgang Stockinger and Dennis van Vlaanderen at the EAS Conference 2019

Systems: EU online survey key findings

  • Lack of finance and resources ranks highly as a barrier for systems to install dual career services. At the same time, 94% of respondents from countries without a dual career policy claimed that the lack of policy causes them an issue when implementing support services.
  • Lack of understanding and awareness of dual career is referenced a lot throughout the survey.
  • Apparently, systems in the EU do not yet know how to effectively measure dual career success.
  • Best practice examples, sharing of knowledge and networking features heavily in the desired support on European level.

Athletes: focus group interviews key findings

The following points were mentioned by the European athletes as main desired (missing) support experiences:

  • Lack of coach education on dual career
  • Lack of formalised dual career support systems – constantly searching support services on one site (ideally built around the educational provider)
  • Lack of dual career counselling support (key areas identified included preparing for retirement, making key transitions within dual career, and during the Olympic year)
  • Lack of dual career counselling at talent level valuable in avoiding drop out
  • Lack of dual career provision in the labour market

Combined analysis: main barriers to dual career implementation

  • Lack of dual career policy
  • Lack of dual career awareness and understanding
  • Inconsistent level of dual career providers
  • Need for dual career counselling programmes
  • Limited stakeholder engagement
  • Additional needs for countries with limited/no dual career structures (particularly Eastern Europe)

Expert groups start their work

Translating this data into 11 practical tools which create true impact for dual career implementation in Europe will be the future task of 4 specialized European Expert Groups (EG) that teamed up for the first time this week in Malta: EG "Management" (led by Guy Taylor, TASS), EG "Dual Career Counselling" (led by Wolfgang Stockinger, TW1N), EG "Communication" (led by Laurent Carnol, Sportlycée Luxembourg) and EG "Framework" (led by Dennis van Vlaanderen, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences).

References

  • STARTING 11 (2019): Needs analysis

Sportlycée Luxembourg, Workshop

Shaping sport-school environments in Luxembourg

Fueled by its EU Presidency which put Dual Careers on its sport agenda, Luxembourg has made impressive steps forward in their structural development of athlete support services. Since 2016, TW1N Founder & CEO Wolfgang Stockinger serves as an external consultant of this national implementation process.

As a most important puzzle piece of the Luxembourgish dual career system, the Sportlycée Luxembourg is a public sport school with the mission to help talented athletes to combine sport and education on secondary school level. The national programme is run in cooperation with sport federations and the Federal Ministry of Sport.

Traditionally, the school has a strong ambition to continuously innovate its dual career environment. Bringing in European expertise is seen as a key factor for further development within the institution. In this context, TW1N was delighted to advise the first stage of the project "Projet d’établissement - Building block for a successful dual career". In an in-house workshop, we accompanied the school's experts in the areas of management, teaching, sport psychology and counselling to create effective communication strategies to convey the project to the talented athletes and their entourage, spanning parents, sport coaches and teachers.

Sportlycée Luxembourg, Workshop
The experts of the Sportlycée Luxembourg & TW1N

STARTING 11, track and field

Introducing STARTING 11

Dual career programmes depend on the quality of implementation at professional levels close to the athlete. However, in 2017, more than one third of the EU member states self-rated their status and development of support arrangements as negative. To tackle this problem, the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) and TW1N have co-designed the Erasmus+ project "STARTING 11 - The European Dual Career Toolkit" which shall help dual career stakeholders implement effective athlete services.

STARTING 11 unites some of Europe’s leading institutions in dual career. Next to AUAS and TW1N, these are Sportlycée Luxembourg (Luxembourg), Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) (United Kingdom), German University Sports Federation (ADH) (Germany), European Athlete Student (EAS) (Malta) and CREPS Toulouse (France).

Closing the gap between policy, research and practice

In the EU, the number of athletes in need of dual career services adds up to more than 120.000 in every Olympic cycle. From talented level and elite sport to the transition to post-athletic life, the quality of provided dual career support services are of vital importance to athletes.

STARTING 11 caters to close the gap between policy, research and practice. Positioned between the EU Guidelines on Dual Careers of Athletes and local/regional/national dual career stakeholders wanting to adopt these guidelines, the project contributes to professionalize the European dual career environment. Essentially, the European Dual Career Toolkit aims to facilitate the implementation of dual career services by providing a set of self-applicable tools to key actors in sport, education and the labour market:

  • Sport: National Olympic Committees, high performance centres, sport federations, clubs, sport academies, player unions
  • Education: Sport schools, universities, further education institutes, training institutes for sport coaches
  • Labour market: Job agencies, public employers of athletes, private employers of athletes
  • Other: Lead agencies on dual career

Implementation support

The European Dual Career Toolkit provides the aforementioned key actors with a variety of tools to better support their athletes in all stages of their sporting career. Our freely accessible toolkit will be published in December 2021 on www.starting11.eu and is composed of a variety of practical tools spanning four main dual career service areas:

  • Management focuses on promoting the political, theoretical and infrastructural know-how to implement and administrate dual career services.
  • Framework targets programmes at a school and higher education level to contribute to conditions in which dual careers can successfully be realized.
  • Dual career counselling aims at inter-personal counselling services to foster the coping, decision-making and planning ability of an athlete within times of fundamental change and transition.
  • Communication caters to the identification of and efficient communication towards the most relevant dual career stakeholders.

By means of the toolkit, STARTING 11 aims to have a structural and durable impact on dual career implementation throughout the EU. The project’s integrated approach shall ultimately result in the up skilling of dual career practitioners, increased employability of athletes and a multi-directional raise of awareness across sport, education and the labour market.

References
  • European Commission (2012): EU Guidelines on Dual Careers of Athletes
  • European Commission (2016): Study on the Minimum Quality Requirements for Dual Career Services. Research report
  • European Commission (2017): Report on the state of play concerning the implementation of the EU guidelines on dual careers of athletes