18 May 2023
For National Careers Week 2023 the AIS is encouraging high performance athletes to take advantage of its large suite of programs aimed at advancing professional development and preparing them for life post-sport.
The first being the AIS Career Practitioner Referral Network (CPRN) which pairs athletes with world-leading career consultants who offer professional career advice and a range of guidance services.
Since connecting with a career practitioner in 2019, Australian aeriel skier Abbey Willcox is a big advocate of the CPRN.
“One of the benefits of going through the CPRN is having someone who can help you progress outside of your sport, with the right network and opportunities. Learning how to step into the ‘real world’ and recognising that there are many opportunities there if you apply yourself.”
During a break from elite skiing in 2022, Willcox reached out to a network she had built through the support of the CPRN and organised four–weeks of work experience with the Brisbane Broncos across a range of business areas.
Willcox then secured a position within the organisation’s Marketing team and is now working through balancing her role as she returns to training.
This National Careers Week Willcox is encouraging other athletes to take a leap with their professional development and reach out to the CPRN.
“The CPRN is an incredible tool for any athlete, make sure you are open to new opportunities and getting outside of your comfort zone to progress outside of sport. Know your story and share it - the right employers will see that you have a lot of unique life experience as an elite athlete,” Willcox said.
The AIS Virtual Internships Program which offers accessible and flexible internships to athletes has also proven hugely successful.
Women’s water polo athlete Madeleine Steere undertook the inaugural program in 2022 and said it provided invaluable work experience in her chosen field.
“Completing the virtual internship has been the first step in my professional career. It’s given me valuable experience and helped me further understand the pharmaceutical industry and the types of jobs I am interested in pursuing in the future,” said Steere.
“It’s often difficult as a busy athlete to participate in traditional career building opportunities. The flexibility the program provided is something that is very difficult to find elsewhere.”
This week the successful participants of the 2023 intake were announced with ten high performance athletes representing eight sports.
Lastly, athletes looking to further their education can access support through the Elite Athlete Education Network (EAEN).
The program is run in partnership with a range of universities and Technical and Further Education (TAFE) organisations and aims to assist athletes with completing their studies while training.
Athletes interested in learning more about these career and education services can contact their relevant State and Territory Institute/Academy of Sport or their Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Manager within their sport.
For more information on AIS professional development programs please visit the AIS Athlete Personal Development page.