ABSTRACT

Nowadays, students at European universities have to develop, not only academic skills, but also those skills and competences that will allow them to succeed in a global job market. Intercultural and language abilities are a must, and this is the reason why the European Union is supporting mobility programmes in order to facilitate stays abroad.

Elite amateur sport men and women are not outside of this reality. They have to develop a dual career at the highest level: both, academic and sportive. If they want to be at the highest sport level, trainings and competitions are very demanding. At the same time, they have to do their best at the university, as their labour future does not depend on the sport, but on their studies and competences.

Too often, these students have to renounce living a mobility experience because of the high sport demand. It also happens that some of them decide to put above their studies and then they leave their sport in order to live the international academic experience.

Clubs and national federations loose then a talent, while they lose the opportunity to compete at the highest level. Others, they choose to live a sport mobility leaving aside the academic career, as the international Club where they are offered to play does not have a university with an agreement with their university.

This project proposal aims at the design of a sport-academic exchange scheme into the Erasmus+ Programme. Erasmus+ requirements and elite sports’ requirements do not fit very well, and if universities and sport clubs work together, we a way to make possible that elite sport men and women do not have to choose between their academic and professional life and their sport life, enhancing their dual careers.

The project is focused in Field Hockey as a pilot sport, but final results are expected are going to take into consideration all sports, mainly amateurs. There will be two main results: a) Hockey/Academic Exchange Programme and b) Sport/Academic Exchange.

DRAGONS

Goals

UNIV. ANTWERPEN

Europe needs to face this reality by offering an interesting option in Europe that allow student athletes to combine both, academic and sport careers at the highest level.

This project proposal aims at the design of a sport-academic exchange scheme into the Erasmus+ Programme. Erasmus+ requirements and elite and high-performance sports’ requirements do not fit very well, and this consortium will jointly work on a feasible solution with from both sides of this reality: higher education institutions and sport clubs so that elite sportsmen and sportswomen do not have to choose between their academic and professional life and their sport life, enhancing their dual careers. At the same time, Clubs will not lose talented players when their players will be abroad, as they will be receiving high performance players from other EU countries in reciprocity. With this cooperation between universities and hockey clubs we are accomplishing with at least two of the specific objectives of this Sport Action under Erasmus+:

  • Strengthened cooperation between institutions and organisations active in the field of sport and physical activity.
  • Better participation of sport organisations and other relevant organisations from various Programme Countries in enhanced networks.

This project fully responds to the demand of the Collaborative Partnerships which supports the testing and the development of new project formats and new forms of transnational cooperation in the field of sport that are likely to inspire the development, on a larger scale of initiatives supported with national funding schemes or other European funds, as it foresees to propose a new mobility scheme for the new Erasmus mobility programme that would take into account dual career specific needs, that, in the event that the European Commission would decide to consider this, the scope of the benefits will arrive to all elite and high performance athletes in Europe.

METHODOLOGY

The project has been taking two main pillars:
HOCKEY/SPORT NEEDS and ACADEMIC EXCHANGE NEEDS

Therefore, it has been considered necessary to have the following structure:
First of all, establish a tandem University/Hockey Club per country.

  • Designate a Coordinator for the Hockey Pillar: coordinates all the tasks related to Hockey Clubs among partners and the relations with the relevant stakeholders in the sport field.
  • Designate a Coordinator for the Academic (Study Exchange) Pillar: coordinates all the tasks related to the Academic Pillar among partners and the relations with the relevant stakeholders.

Both Coordinators have to work together as the leads of both pillars and report to the Project Coordinator. The three coordinators will meet on a regularly basis, together with the Project Manager.

At local level:
-Each university has two local coordinators:

  1.  Academic Local Coordinator (International Officer of Exchange programmes)
  2.  Dual Career Coordinator (person in charge of the dual career support)

– Each Hockey Club has a Hockey Local Coordinator (Hockey Coach)

All the partners, Hockey Clubs and Universities, will have to work jointly in order to develop all Intellectual Outputs, as this is the only way to achieve the expected results.

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ORGANIZATION CHART

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