Kookaburra goalkeeper Andrew Charter has set up a company, The Bench, aimed at aiding athletes in finding job opportunities either alongside their playing days or when transitioning out of their sport after retirement.
Speaking to Not The Footy Show, Charter said it is ‘extremely difficult’ to be a dual-career athlete, due to the hinderances that elite sport has upon your working life.
While acknowledging that hockey is ‘one of the more sympathetic sports’, Charter still recognises that the idea that Olympians will find easier employment is a thing of the past.
Charter first shared this view to his LinkedIn profile following the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, writing an article entitled ‘The Employable Olympian Fallacy‘.
Charter not only feels that the job market has grown more competitive, directly leading to less employment options for these athletes, but he also feels that the majority of athletes are bad at selling themselves to companies.
When talking to the Not The Footy Show podcast, the Kookaburra pointed towards the fact that efficiency, work-rate, performing under pressure and quick decision making are so normalised for elite athletes that they fail to accurately sell this to the companies from which they seek employment.
As a result, Charter has set up The Bench, a company that works collaboratively and symbiotically with business to connect athletes whose skillsets, culture and values align.
This idea of hockey working in conjunction with businesses has also been seen at lower levels – for instance the UK has recently seen the launch of Bowdon Connect, an initiative by Bowdon Hockey Club to connect University graduates with working opportunities through playing for their club.
Charter talks of the network he has already grown, and his aspirations to help more athletes attain valuable employment opportunities through it – encouraging businesses to ‘take the players off The Bench and get them into your workforce’.