Careers Alongside High Performance Sport

This National Careers Week (16-22 May 2022), we are turning the spotlight on some our very own high performance athletes.

National Careers Week is an initiative that aims to celebrate careers to promote the economic, social, and personal benefits of career development.

Hear from our athletes below on the importance of a career and study alongside high performance sport.

Kevin Faulkner – National Para Squad Member

My job is a Sports Development Coordinator with ParaQuad Tasmania. I have been working for ParaQuad for 14 years and it involves providing sport and recreation programs for people with spinal cord injury and physical disABILITY.

My work gives people with disability the opportunity to participate in sport at their level which helps with their self-confidence, health, and wellbeing. It also gives athletes the opportunity to meet with peers.

It makes me really happy if a person starts participating in sport and becomes a Paralympian but I’m just as happy if they participate weekly and enjoy themselves.

My work contributes to my wellbeing as it gives me balance in my life and my identity to be known as Kevin the sports bloke, he will help you get involved. Work does also help with my performance as it gives me time away from thinking about training, and the next competition.

I believe it is very important for athletes to have a career outside of sport because sport is not going to go on forever and you need a balance in life. Not to mention, an athlete also must pay the bills to achieve their goals in sport and life.

Sarah Haywood – National Recurve Squad Member

I am a total plant nerd; I’ve always loved plants. I have over 200 house plants. It’s an area that’s always expanding and there are plenty of opportunities. That’s part of the reason I’m now studying a Certificate II Horticulture at Open Colleges.

The learning is what I really enjoy. I love learning about the plants and interesting little facts like why plants are variegated (because it looks to insects like the plant has already been eaten!).

I’d like to get a job in the industry in either a customer faced nursery or a wholesale / production nursery. They are both two very different roles but I’d be more than happy in either of them. The end goal is to run my own nursery one day!

It’s really import for athletes to have something other than sport to work on to become good at. I think having something else makes you better as an athlete because it makes you respect your time more. It’s also important to have a job because archery doesn’t pay the bills (it creates more!).

Chris Davis – National Para Squad Member

I’m an Authorised Mental Health Clinician at Queensland Health which involves conducting mental health assessments to determine treatment plans, follow up support or appropriate linking for people struggling with mental health conditions.

By helping people to learn to manage difficult times they can develop the necessary tools to overcome other crises or troubles in their future.

For me, my job provides routine, financial security, and the ability to do the things I enjoy, both personally and professionally.

The truth is very few, if any people, can participate in their chosen sport forever. For the athlete who has gotten into sport at a young age life can be quite insular. All that matters is the game. What is overlooked is the preparation required for what comes next just like the training and practice put into the sport in the early stages.

My degree took 4 years at university full time. Although it’s never too late to start a career, most require time, experience, and commitment to have a secure future.

Get Involved

Athletes are encouraged to explore their education and career options, with several great events happening around the country during National Careers Week.

The Australian Institute of Sport is running a number of online workshops, talks and help guides throughout this week. You can find out more here.