‘Be a Winner In elite Sport and Employment before and after athletic Retirement’ (B-WISER) is a 2-year project that runned from 1 January 2017 until December 2018. The grant of €0.4M allowed 13 partner organisations from six EU Member States (i.e., Belgium, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden) and 8 expert organisations (The Adecco Group, IOC, IPC, EOC, UEAPME, Schuman associates, Kapito HR, Unizo) to optimize the employability and employment of active and former elite athletes in three specific career stages. More specifically, B-WISER provided the EU Member States with empirical data, conceptualisations, tools and evidence-based practices relevant to, and enabling them to create the optimal environment to enhance active and former elite athletes’ employability and employment.
Work Packages B-WISER
In the opening phase (WP1), the B-WISER project identified existing structures and measures on the support of ‘elite sport and employment’. Subsequently, in WP2 the project identified the competences that athletes require to combine ‘elite sport and employment‘, and also the competences they require to successfully make the transition from elite sport to the labour market at the end of their elite sports career. In the next phase, the B-WISER project researched the added value of employing (former) athletes for employers (WP3). Finally, based on the results of the previous phases, the project identified, developed, implemented (WP4) and evaluated (WP5) best practices in the participating countries to optimize the matching process between (former) athletes and (future) employers. This allows educational institutions, sport governing bodies, employers and career counsellors in the participating countries to optimize their support and guidance in ‘elite sport and employment’ trajectories.
The B-WISER consortium consisted of universities, national Olympic and paralympic committees (e.g., BOIC & BPC in Belgium), elite sport centers, career guidance experts (Adecco Athlete Career Program), employment and HR experts (Kapito HR, Unizo, UEAPME) and international elite sport experts (IOC, IPC, EOC). Under the leadership of Prof. Paul Wylleman and Dr. Koen De Brandt, the VUB was responsible for coordinating the project. Dr. Simon Defruyt and dra. Sofie Smismans also played a central role in this. The research in Belgium was conducted in collaboration with Pascal Dufourny and Nicky Van Rossem from the BOIC, Olek Kazimirowski from the BPC and Iris Ulenaers from the Adecco Group (Athlete Career Program). The administrative and financial follow-up of the project was provided by Arthur Skenazi and Kim Coppens.