On 13-14 December, 2018, UNESCO Cluster Office in Almaty and the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan conducted a pilot project to build capacity and empower women who have completed their sports careers, helping them to achieve successful reorganization and transition to another sphere of professional activity in the framework of the Kazan Action Plan 2017 (Action 4).
The UNESCO “FUNSHOP”: Women Athletes Career Transition Pilot Project consisted of a two-day interactive training workshop for 30 female athletes (most of participants are from rural regions of the country) to develop skills of communication, self-presentation, and financial literacy, provide them with career guidance, reveal their talents through creativity, and inform athletes about their educational opportunities.
Each training workshop included theoretical and practical sections that enabled project participants to apply their new knowledge and skills immediately in practice.
After the end of their active careers in the sports, a number of athletes are successful in pursuing their career in the field of sports or other areas. However, the path of a professional athlete who deliberately chose Olympic sports implies a certain short period of vigorous activity, and then the transition to passive sport activity. On average, athletes end their careers at the age of 30, but not everyone can pursue a career in the field of sports, and this can be caused by a variety of causes, such as injuries, long-term rest due to illness or maternity leave.
At the international level, athletes with higher athletic performances are obliged to perform well in education, in other words, without education they cannot purse a career in sports. It is evident that good performance in school, along with high achievements in sport, may help them to receive an education grant in prestigious higher educational institutions.
Since some insufficiently educated Kazakhstan athletes cannot enter any professional field of activity and continue social integration after their sports career is over. Thus, the education of athletes is a highly relevant concern in Kazakhstan.
It is important to note that for women in sports it is often more difficult to continue their career in the field of sports. Unfortunately, there is little information available on how female athletes pursue their careers after sports in Kazakhstan. However, according to the practice of the NOC of RK, the current process of resocialization occurs in a random manner. Some of them continue as sports managers, some become coaches, physical education teachers and a small part as fitness coaches, but most former female athletes still cannot enter the labor market due to lack of education and professional knowledge and skills.
The launch of the project was very important for further work in this area.
As one of the ignored areas to date, the social and professional adaptation of female athletes will be another indirect but important direction for the development of sports in Kazakhstan.
Possibly, active female athletes will pay more attention to their future and plan the transition to another professional activity in advance.
This project contributes to the implementation of SDG4, SDG5, SDG8, SDG 11 and SDG 17.