Posted on Jul 23, 2021 at 7:03 amUpdated on Jul 27, 2021, 11:14 AM
Becoming a police officer was for Maïva Hamadouche ” An evidence “. The young woman entered the police academy at the age of 19. “I was attracted by the uniform, the rigor, the order, the values, the fact that we are a police officer 24 hours a day, seven days a week and that we defend those who need it”, she explains, now 31 years old.
In parallel with her profession, she practices boxing at a high level. “Combining the two has required sacrifices from me, she relates. All my free time and my days off were dedicated to training and competing in London and abroad. “
If she speaks in the past tense, it is because in 2021 she won an Employment Development Agreement (CAE) to prepare for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Signed for one year (renewable), this agreement makes it possible to pursue professional and sporting careers simultaneously with an adapted schedule.
277 companies welcome top athletes
Like her, around 285 high-level athletes who exercise in the public currently benefit from a CAE. What to facilitate their double life. At the national level, the main administrations or public structures that employ athletes are the army of champions (144 athletes to date), customs (32), the police (25) or the Ministry of National Education (about twenty number of positions). Local authorities (municipalities, departments, regions) and public hospital service establishments also have them in their ranks.
Others work in companies. In 2021, more than 300 athletes benefited from a Professional Integration Agreement (CIP) – the equivalent of a CAE but in a company. SNCF, Nexity, ArianeGroup, Direct Assurance, Crédit Mutuel … “In total, 277 companies support high-level sport in London”, details Odile Pellegrino, high performance advisor at the National Sports Agency.
Prepare for the post-sport career
For some, having a regular job is a necessity. “Sportspeople in mediated disciplines, such as athletics, can live thanks to the support of sponsors with whom they sign image contracts, enlightens Odile Pellegrino. For others, for example in boxing, taekwondo or weightlifting, it is more complicated. We try to support them to find a job in line with their career and project. “
For Steven Da Costa, 24-year-old karateka, having a foothold within the SNCF is reassuring. He joined the group at the end of 2017. He works there around fifty days a year as a sales agent in an RER C station in London. “Karate remains an amateur sport, it is difficult to make a living from it, advances the young man who signed a CDI. This job is a great security for me. If my sporting career ends, I know that I have a job in my hands, that I can enter working life 100%. “
Ten years ago, Mathilde Rivière was hired as a hospital worker in a palliative care service in a hospital in Yvelines. “This work allowed me to get out of sport, performance, to take my mind off things. And to put a lot of things into perspective, to realize how lucky I was to be in good health and to be able to practice the sport that I love ”, recounts the 31-year-old wrestler.
Some athletes believe that their professional activity is essential to their balance. Among them, the 33-year-old kayaker Etienne Hubert. This former Grenoble School of Management is now a project manager at Afnor, the English Association for Standardization. He works on standards in the consumer goods, sports and leisure industries. “I really like it! This job allows me to learn a lot of things and to expand my network », tells the one who later sees himself working in tourism. “If I could make a living from my sport, I don't think I would, he says. I would get bored. “
A full-time salary
To prepare for the Games, these athletes benefited from a reduction in working time. This sometimes goes up to 100%, which means that the athletes, still under contract, do not need to work for a given period. This is the case of Mathilde Rivière, who has not passed the doors of the hospital since 2018. The same goes for Steven Da Costa, who has not worked at the SNCF since 1er January 2021. Both will return to their posts at the beginning of September, once the Olympic parenthesis has been closed.
And financially? Regardless of their schedule, everyone is paid as if they were practicing full time. And this, even if they do not exercise for several consecutive months. Employers pay them on a full-time basis and financial compensation is granted to the employer “Almost equally by the National Sports Agency and by the sports federations, through the aid they receive from the Agency or from their own funds. Certain local authorities also participate in this financing ”, details the Agency.
“Adaptability, energy and positivism”
Employing these athletes requires a certain gymnastics from HR and managers. “We must succeed in integrating them into positions that are more independent because their absences must not jeopardize the rest of the team's work,” underlines Maguy Nestoret-Ontanon, high performance advisor at the National Sports Agency. This requires a certain organization, because sometimes it is necessary to provide for replacements. “
What interest do companies have in hiring these profiles with fluctuating schedules? For the SNCF, which has 31 employee-athletes, “These high-level railway workers are inspiring for their colleagues and their managers”. According to the railway company, they have “A rather disconcerting ability to question or change course. Their adaptability, their energy, and their positivism communicate very well when they are in collectives, work groups ”. It is also a bet on the future: “70% of them stay in the company after their sports career. “
The State pays a bonus to English Olympic and Paralympic athletes who climb to the podium. In Tokyo, those who win a gold medal will receive 65,000 Pounds, 25,000 Pounds for the silver and 15,000 Pounds for the bronze medal.
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