Best Practice

GB Olympians first to join Athlete Friendly Education assessment team

15 | 12 | 2016

World Olympians Association (WOA) and the World Academy of Sport have teamed up to boost Olympian involvement in the new Athlete Friendly Education Centre (AFEC) initiative. Olympians are being given the opportunity to use their expert skills and experience, further their careers and give back to their sporting communities by becoming AFEC accredited assessors.

AFEC is a new initiative developed by the World Academy of Sport that offers an internationally recognised accreditation framework for schools, universities and other organisations that support student-athletes to balance their education and athletic goals. Under the scheme schools are assessed against set criteria such as athlete-friendly policies and procedures, overall school structures, support services and facilities. Those found to actively support high performing student athletes are awarded the AFEC accreditation mark.

Six GB Olympians, representing both summer and winter sports, have become the first Olympians to undergo a unique two-day assessors training course at the University of Worcester in England. The course, which included role play, real life assessment situations and interviews, put the Olympians through their paces as they came to grips with making objective assessments and recommendations. Having passed stage one of the training the Olympians will now join AFEC Assessment teams in the field as they go out and apply their learnings in practice.

WOA is supporting this training and work opportunity for Olympians to become AFEC Assessors, which will also allow Olympians to contribute to their communities and future generations of young athletes by ensuring higher standards of support for student-athletes. WOA will continue working with the World Academy of Sport to extend the AFEC Assessors training programme to other National Olympians Associations (NOAs), as the AFEC initiative continues to grow internationally.

Chair of the GB Olympians & AFEC Assessor, Joslyn Hoyte-Smith, said:

“We have been working hard in recent years to allow Olympians to come together and give back to the communities that supported them on their journey to the Games. We have been in discussions with the World Academy of Sport over the past year and the AFEC initiative is really well placed for us to be involved with as it aligns so closely with our core values as Olympians and also creates career development opportunities for Olympians.”

Director of AFEC for the World Academy of Sport, Michael Cary, said:

“Teachers are unsung heroes in high performing student athletes’ lives as they play such an important formative role in their development. The AFEC initiative has already made some great strides in the schools that we are working with and have accredited to date and we believe that the Olympians have such a positive and beneficial contribution to provide to this initiative. We are really excited to be able to work with the GB Olympians and the World Olympians Association on this project and aim to make a positive impact on many young athletes’ lives in the coming years through this cooperation.”

GB Olympian & AFEC Assessor, Jamie Fearn, said:

“I understand very well the challenges of training, travel, competition, recovery and overall health and how this can very easily adversely impact the quality and quantity of study required for educational achievement.  Whilst I was lucky to have supportive parents and some understanding teachers, I feel it would have been a huge benefit to have a more formal support structure and greater understanding of the demands I had to cope with.

“Being involved in the AFEC initiative is an opportunity to help and support young talented athletes and schools by sharing experience, knowledge and best practices to help formulate a practical structure to facilitate the best environment for athletic and educational achievement.”

The GB Olympians who took part in the course include:

  • Shirley Addison, Athletics, Athens 2004
  • Natalie (Munt) Barton, Badminton, Athens 2004
  • Francesca Clayton, Water Polo, London 2012
  • Alex Coomber, Skeleton, Salt Lake City 2002
  • Jamie Fearn, Short Track Speed Skating, Albertville 1992, Lillehammer 1994
  • Joslyn Hoyte-Smith, Athletics, Moscow 1980, Los Angeles 1984