June 2022 was an exciting landmark in the FORMS project “Researching emerging forms of employment in the European sport sector” for two reasons.
At last, we meet
Firstly, despite the project having run for 18 months, this was the first chance for the seven partners from the five represented countries to meet in person. Up to now, all partner and research meetings have had to take place online due to Covid restrictions. This two-day meeting (9-10 June) was hosted by Mathieu Winand in the excellent facilities at LUNEX university in Luxembourg. All partners welcomed the opportunity to spend more time together, exploring and debating the fascinating issues which their research is revealing around sport employment. On the evening of June 9, Mathieu organised a partner dinner, followed by a walking tour of Luxembourg city centre, which helped the partners to get to know each other better, network informally and appreciate the historical sights of a beautiful city at the heart of Europe. The world of Erasmus+ Sport is finally returning to ‘normality’!
Positive steps forward
Secondly, the partners were able to see significant progress in their research and consultation activities. FORMS now has an integrated desk research report on new forms of employment, a clearer picture of the challenges facing sport employment and the potential solutions and risks that new forms of employment present. Five in-person consultation round tables in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Portugal helped the partners to consult on their research outcomes with national stakeholders, including Ministries, local authorities, national Olympic committees, sport federations and clubs, employer groups, training providers, associations and employees.
The outcomes are all very positive. Stakeholders supported the research findings and welcomed the added flexibility and other opportunities to match supply and demand which new forms of employment can bring. They also explored the potential risks, especially to employee salaries and working conditions, and potential safeguards which need to be put in place. They noted that in some countries there continue to be legal barriers to the introduction of new forms of employment and expressed a strong view that all parts of the sport sector need to unite and speak with one voice to governments.
And onwards to a successful outcome
FORMS is now ready to produce some practical outcomes for the sector through a Compendium of Good Practices and Recommendations due for publication in early 2023. The document will summarise the partner research, evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of different forms of employment for employers and employees, present case studies and recommend what needs to be done at the national level. It will also address the needs of sport clubs, offering them practical guidance on new forms of employment, the issues they need to consider and the steps they can take.
Geoff Carroll, Director of Skills Development for EOSE said,
“This was such an important moment in the life of the FORMS project. Up to now, it’s been a long-distance relationship, so it was fantastic to meet all the partners, shake hands for the first time and enjoy quality time together both formally and informally. Of course, it would have been better if we could have met in person from the beginning, but ‘better late than never’! Despite the Covid restrictions, our partners have got on with the job in a very professional way. It is clear now that the initial ideas which we had back in 2020 (when EOSE applied for this innovative and vital project) are now being validated by national stakeholders and will crystallise into some really valuable products which will strengthen the sector in its Covid recovery and better equip it to face the challenges of the future.”
Visit the project web page at www.forms-sport.eu
You can contact the FORMS project and ask to be kept informed about developments or to get involved by contacting Geoff Carroll, EOSE Director of Skills Development (email@example.com).
Full list of partners:
- European Observatoire of Sport and Employment (EOSE) – France and EU
- Fédération Nationale Profession Sport et Loisirs (FNPSL) – France
- Sportwerk Vlaanderen – Belgium
- Kortrijk Spurs – Belgium
- International University of Health, Exercise and Sports (LUNEX) – Luxembourg
- Werkgevers in de Sport (WOS) – Netherlands
- Polytechnic Institute of Santarem/Sport Sciences School of Rio Maior (IPSantarem-ESDRM) – Portugal
© LUNEX University (Pictures)