Half of athletes are involved in volunteer work in a sport-related capacity, with most of these athletes volunteering between one to five hours a month.
While there are no significant differences between athletes sub-groups, in terms of who volunteers their time, Anglophone athletes typically volunteer more of their time than Francophone athletes (averaging eight hours a month to three for Francophones). Athletes pursuing summer sports also donated more time (seven hours a month on average), compared with athletes in winter sports (who volunteer an average of five hours a month).
Part-time students also volunteer fewer hours (five on average) than full-time students do (seven and a half per month), perhaps because full-time students are fulfilling some academic requirement.
The largest proportion of athletes who responded to the survey have chosen a future career in the biology/biochemistry fields, followed by business and finance. One in ten athletes report “professional athlete” as their chosen career for the future.
Biologist is a more prevalent response among 24 to 26 year old athletes, compared with athletes who are younger or older.
It is interesting to note that it is the youngest athletes (under 25) who are most likely (14 per cent compared with only seven to eight per cent of older athletes) to have their sights set on professional athlete status. This is also a more predominant response among athletes with no post-secondary education. Similarly, developing athletes, as well as those in team sports are more apt to be thinking about professional status.
The largest proportion of athletes report a need for a college or university as preparation for their post-athletic career (35 per cent). The youngest athletes (under 25) are most likely to say this, compared with older athletes (56 per cent versus 40 per cent of 24 to 26 year olds and only 19 per cent of older athletes). This is also true of athletes with less than a university education and those who are not currently in the labour force, as well as developing athletes. The oldest athletes, as well as those who are working and not in school, are more likely than others to say that they do not need anything else in order to pursue their post-athletic careers.
Lastly, the overwhelming majority (92 per cent) of athletes reported that confidence, and discipline and focus are the characteristics that their athletic careers had provided them with as preparation for a post-athletic career. Financial resources are most lacking according to athletes.
Women are more likely than men to have cited time management skills as an area of preparation. Athletes with no post-secondary education are more likely to have cited sport-specific skills, as are the athletes with international cards, and those reporting commercial opportunities. Athletes pursuing team sports are more likely to point out teamwork and cooperation, and those who have relocated cite adaptability, competitive situations and leadership more often than those who have not relocated.
Previously carded athletes were asked what they did in the first few years after their career as a carded athlete. Over half report continuing with their education. Roughly one in five reports having become a coach, continued their non-sport career, entered a new field of employment, or married. A very small number report having started a family. Virtually no one pursued a second athletic career.
When asked about the impact that their athletic career had on a series of items, almost all previously carded athletes feel that their sport career had a positive impact on their personal development and their range of personal experience. Around half feel that their sport career had a positive impact on their preparation for a future career, understanding of what they wanted to do and their education. Only three in 10 feel that their sport career had a positive impact on their financial status. In fact, more than half feel their career had a negative impact on their financial status.
7.3Making the Transition
When it came to making the transition from carded athlete, most previously carded athletes feel that the maturity and discipline gained from competing in high level sport helped them a great deal. Roughly half feel that their contacts within the sport community helped them make the transition, followed by deferred tuition support, recognition/profile resulting from their own career, and public goodwill towards athletes. One in five to one in 10 feels that support from national sport organizations and career transition programs helped them make the transition to a post-carded career.
There are a number of ways athletes can be assisted in making the transition to the workplace. Previously carded athletes were asked to rate the extent to which each of a series of potential sources of assistance was actually useful. Approximately half feel that their ability to accumulate tuition credits was very useful, followed by about one-quarter who feel that their employer contacts were useful, career planning and guidance, and assistance to continue in a sports-related career. It should be noted, however, that around one-quarter of respondents felt that these types of assistance were not applicable to them.
Only three in 10 previously carded athletes were aware of the Canadian Olympic Association’s athlete career centres and programs. Of those who were aware of the centres and programs, about half had made use of them and just under half of those feel the programs were adequate in helping them make the transition to a non-carded athlete.
Three-quarters of athletes feel that their sport involvement had a positive impact on their employment opportunities after they ceased being a carded athlete. Only a small number feel that their sport involvement had a negative impact and few also feel that their sport career had neither a positive nor negative impact on their employment opportunities.