26 September 2023

New career service for sporting women

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The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has launched a program to support women athletes to pursue careers and leadership positions in sport once their athletic careers have crossed the finishing line.

In a statement, AIS said 26 women athletes met in Canberra last week as part of its AIS Accelerate program.

The Institute said the week-long event included an evening with members of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) Board and Executive, including Chair of ASC, Josephine Sukkar, Chief Executive of ASC, Kieren Perkins, and Director of AIS, Matti Clements.

The AIS said its Accelerate Program helped participants share some great insights into the challenges many women athletes face when transitioning from their high performance athletic careers.

Danielle Woodhouse, who has made the transition from Olympian to Sports Physiotherapist, said the AIS Accelerate Program had been an invaluable experience.

“Coming here to the AIS for the Accelerate Program has given us the opportunity to step away from our day- to-day lives and the business and the grind, to actually focus on ourselves and our mindset,” Ms Woodhouse said.

“It has made us all realise that we aren’t alone, that we’ve all gone through the same struggles facing the same sort of transitions regardless of what levels of sport you played, whether you went to the Olympics or Commonwealth Games, which you wouldn’t be able to do in any other situation,” she said.

AIS said basketball player, Rachael Sporn was recently appointed Operations Manager at AFLW and was encouraged to apply for the AIS Accelerate Program by fellow Olympian and 2021 Accelerate Alumni, Juliet Haslam.

“For me it has ticked every box,” Ms Sporn said.

“The professional development part is really what interested me and I also love being around likeminded people and the opportunity to connect with women from other sporting codes,” she said.

“I think because we have been elite athletes we haven’t been building up our skillset that someone else in a normal job environment has been able to do.”

Ms Sporn said athletes needed to believe in themselves a little bit more, “in the skillsets that we do have and realise that it is going to transition us really well into the workforce.”

Further information on the AIS Accelerate Program can be accessed at this PS News link.

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