23 May 2013Beth Tweddle backs athlete career drive
The Athlete Career Enhancement Programme (ACE) is offering 14 UK athletes training, work placements and career advice in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year.
Tweddle, who has taken a break from training, believes the drive - being organised by the Search Consultancy - will help athletes who are approaching the end of their career or suffering from injury.
"It's something I've always been very conscious of due to gymnasts typically having very short sporting careers," she said. "So, the fact that a major company like Search Consultancy is investing in helping sporting talent make the transition to the workplace easier is great news."
Many athletes spend the early part of their life focused on training and competing, leaving little time for even part-time work.
Search Consultancy is a sponsor of the 2014 Commonwealth Games and will work with national sporting associations to select 14 athletes for the programme. Those selected will be offered work placements which fit in with their training and competition schedules.
Simone Lockhart, managing director of Search in Scotland, said: "Nearly all athletes will have to look at careers away from their sport at some point in their lifetime. Only a few are full-time and funded as professional athletes, many might already work part-time or are currently students in education. However, by applying the things they learn in sport their career opportunities are almost endless."
Many professional footballers can afford to never work again at the end of their playing career but for thousands of athletes, even some who have experienced Olympic success, they will have to find a new career in their late twenties or thirties.
Tweddle's achievements include being an Olympic bronze medallist, a triple world champion, a six-time European champion, a Commonwealth champion and seven-time consecutive national champion.
The 27-year-old has not officially retired from the sport, adding: "I'm just enjoying training, I haven't been competing but I'm on tour skating at the minute following Dancing On Ice, so I haven't ruled anything out apart from Rio 2016, that's just one step too far for my body. I've got to make a lot of decisions but I'm lucky that I've got a great support network around me to help make those decisions."