After a successful one-day workshop in Stellenbosch, the programme moved to Johannesburg on Wednesday 7 November and athletes grabbed the opportunity enthusiastically.

The Athletes Career Programme (ACP) hosted by national Olympic governing body SASCOC and the E for Exec Professional HR Services was beneficial to all the athletes who were in attendance.

Amongst our athletes were two of the rowing gold medallists at the London 2012 Olympics: James Thompson and Lawrence Ndlovu, Lee-Ann Persse, Naydene Smith, Ursula Grobler, Kirsten McCann Gavin Kilpatrick, Willie Morgan all from rowing, Zarck Visser, and former athlete Hezekiel Sepeng from athletics and Mashego Mkhine from wheelchair basketball.

Kirsty Coventry and Frank Fredericks, both Olympic medal-winning athletes in swimming and athletics respectively also attended the workshop.

Said SASCOC President Gideon Sam: If you treat athletes like royalty they will give royal performances and this programme is one of the ways SASCOC gives back to the athletes and assist them in preparing for their lives after sport.

Our various icons in the world possess characteristics that make them the people they are. As athletes, as you begin to think about life after sport, just think about some of these icons who have made it in life. You as athletes must begin to arm yourselves for that eventuality, when you are no longer in sport, what is it that you are going to do to become a good citizen of the world.

Once you have a broad network you can do a lot on behalf of the community and in the working environment.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athlete Commission Member and Chair of Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) Athletes Commission, Mr Amadou Dia Ba encouraged athletes to look at their life after sport as others have ended up living in extreme poverty after they retire from sport.

Said rowing’s Thompson: This programme is a good initiative that assists us as athletes to have a clear career path after we retire in sport. It is valuable and I have learnt a lot today and I will apply that to my life.

Fellow rower Lawrence Ndlovu added: The Athletes Career Programme is a good move to assist athletes in getting answers to some unanswered questions on life after sport. This course will assist me to compile an effective resume and learn best ways to conduct interviews. It was a good platform for us to learn about the workplace. Thank you to SASCOC and E for Exec for affording us this great opportunity.

Athletes were urged to believe in themselves, take control and go for what they like and apply their positive characteristics that they use in sport to excel in the workplace. As passionate people in the field, athletes were encouraged to carry that passion, even in the corporate world. Many people who fail in their dreams do not fail from lack of talent but lack of passion, said PatrickGlennon, the programme coordinator from Adecco.

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