Workshop 1 in The University of Thessaly, Greece

Event Date: 8th May 2015

Address: Campus of The University of Thessaly, Karditsa, Greece

The proposed deliverable activity: “Organization and development of the first Workshop on Dual Career issues and on the Sport Tutorship program” is part of the ESTPORT Work Package no. 2 (Development and Implementation of the Sport Tutorship programme). The basic theme of this first Workshop was "Dual Career of Students -Athletes" with basic emphasis on both the pedagogical and legal implications of the Dual Career  of student-athletes in Greece and particularly in the Region of Thessaly.

>> Presenting the ESPORT project

According to the proposed activity description (as it has been determined in the project proposal) the Department of Physical Education and Sport Science of University of Thessaly as a partner of ESTPORT has organized their first Workshop in the field of Dual Career in the Region of Thessaly and particularly in the City of Trikala (where the Department is situated). Specifically the first Dual Career Workshop of the Erasmus+ Sport “ESTPORT” was successfully conducted on 8th May 2015 in the Municipal Hall of Trikala Municipality. The goal of the workshops was to relatively address the issues and the framework of Dual Career for the students-athletes in Greece. 

During the first session of the Workshop Professor Koustelios presented the broader existent aspect of Dual Career in Greece while Mr Samantzis presented the basic aspects of the ESPORT project in order all the participants to be familiarized both with the philosophy and the objectives of the project. This first session of the workshop was completed with a presentation concerning the pedagogical and educational approach towards Dual Career of Students/Athletes from Mr George Loules who is a professional football coach. A second session followed including an interactive conversation among the participants examining both the theoretical and the practical design of the Dual Career necessary framework for Students-Athletes. Participation from various faculty staff included: the Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, active student-athletes, former athletes, Olympic champions, coaches, managers of sport, teachers of physical education in the secondary education, career counsellors, public authorities and other sport stakeholders.

Olympic athletes presenting their perspective about Dual Career All the participants had the opportunity to express their personal views and to exchange their experiences and thoughts about the Dual Career. Significant conclusions and results ESTPORT: DEVELOPING AN INNOVATIVE EUROPEAN SPORT TUTORSHIP MODEL FOR THE DUALCAREER OF ATHLETES were obtained after a thorough discussion in which all participants had the opportunity to capture their opinions and experiences helping to shape a number of suggestions that can be consulted in decision-making by politicians and other experts in this particular field of “Dual Career”. The workshop was concluded by summarizing the basic outputs of all the presentations and the integrated discussions concerning the “Dual-Career” conceptual framework. Both of the coordinators from the UTH team and the participants promised to renew their meeting for the next workshop (next semester) where there will be a more detailed analysis of the context of Dual Career to a next level according to the ESPORT objectives.


>> Key results of the Workshop

This first Workshop (the first one of this kind in Greece) concluded in a deeper understanding of the Dual Career aspect for Greek students/athletes, revealing the emergence of developing a context of Dual Career . More particular:

a. At the present context there is no any fundamental institutional approach concerning the students/athletes. In most cases their Dual Career arrangements often depend on the goodwill of persons in key positions of their Institutions (e.g. faculty). All of the participants agreed that until recently all the efforts to help Greek athletes to shift from viewing the world as an athlete to a post-athletic perspective have met with limited degrees of success.

b. There was a detailed reference to relevant practices that were introduced in the past similar to the broader “Greek students/athletes” context where there is a determination of the basic reasons for the practical failure of these initiatives. Specifically traditional “dual-career” initiatives such as “Athletic Schools” and “Mentor” (merely adopted from Sport Departments of Greek Universities)basically introduced in a pilot “status” and actually failed due to the absence of a broader institutional framework that could support the concept of “dual-career” ensuring the existence of these initiatives for a long period.

c. Both the two Olympic Athletes (Mr. Avramis and Mr. Georgalis) based on their valuable experience agreed on the absence of an integrated institutionalized framework of support for students/athletes and both mentioned that there is need of mentality change to all concerned “actors” from the primary to the higher educational level.

d. The academic “world” that participated in this first Workshop mentioned that students/athletes with high performance are facing a particularly busy (that actually approaches the limits of exhaustive) curriculum which forces them to moderate their performance not only on their sport activity but also on their courses as well. That simply implies that a substantial number of student athletes are neither graduating nor entering the professional ranks.

e. Due to their busy program during their studies many athletes are feeling occupational “isolated” and subsequently are not seeking occupational information and assistance from relevant bodies (e.g. career centres, training opportunities).

f. All the participants recognized the emergence of the development of a “Dual-Career” model for the Greek athletes/students in which detailed information and practical methods for successful life and career decisions will be explored. The proposed “Dual-Career” model should address not only the students-athletes but also all the relevant actors (faculty, coaches, parents, administrators, etc.) in order to ensure the development of effective skills and knowledge that is required to help student athletes optimize their personal and athletic goals.

g. Student-athletes need opportunities to develop a broad base of perspectives, knowledge, and experience to make appropriate career choices and successful life transitions. Therefore, it becomes more apparent than ever that a systematic approach based on general and sustainable institutional, financial and legal arrangements is required.


>> Recommendations

The first Workshop of Dual Career held in Greece was very successful and concluded to some significant suggestions offered for further consideration by all the stakeholders and merely for the policy decision makers working in the Greek educational context. In addition all these recommendations will be the subject for further conversation and also the basic input for the basis of the next (2nd) workshop which will be held in a new, reformed basis.

- Development of a better understanding of the broader students-athletes context. All the participants recommended the emergence of developing a better understanding of both the importance and the role of high performance athletes at their own institutions. Particularly the management authorities and the faculty of the academic institutions require to adopt the necessary knowledge and understanding of student athlete identity and quality of life at their institutions. It is important to determine characteristics and motivations of the students but also the challenges and the basic needs of these students.

- Development of an institutional approach. The broader aspect of Dual Career of student athletes should be addressed institutionally and integrated and not occasionally. In this sense some “task” force teams should be prepared to develop institutional strategies and action plans that include policies, programs, and services that will facilitate the development of the institutional model of Dual Career not only in the tertiary education but to the broader educational context in Greece.

- Adjustment to the demanding “Career” environment. Both students-athletes and related “actors” should reveal the demands of dual roles and multiple influences. Additionally student-athletes should realize the need to succeed on the most of their higher education challenges and thus to be ready to accept the necessary assistance. Institutional cooperation and adoption of a Sport Tutor Model should be introduced in order to create a sustainable framework to support the holistic development of student athletes without affecting their educational performance and subsequently the integrity of the higher academic institutions. Students–athletes should be aware of the continuous changing and the demanding economic environment that might affect their transition (after their sport performance) to the labour market. Therefore application of education and career oriented programs is key to ensuring the effective transition from the “sport life” to the labour market. It becomes major responsibility for all stakeholders involved in the tertiary education to make the university experience one that will assist all athletes in shaping the rest of their lives.

Back to workshops»