Meet Benoît Schwarz, who is a curler in the men’s Swiss Olympic team and an intern at SWISS.
Swiss Olympic, the umbrella organization of Switzerland’s national sports associations, has launched the Swiss Olympic Athlete Career Programme together with The Adecco Group Switzerland. Among its aims, the programme is intended to help athletes better combine their sport and their job, and enable them to prepare for a future profession while still active in their sporting careers.
The programme also extends to a special certification that companies can earn as “Competitive-Sports-Friendly Employers”. The overall objective is to integrate athletes and their exceptional talents and qualities into the Swiss economy. SWISS is one of the first companies in Switzerland to earn the Competitive-Sports-Friendly Employer certification.
SWISS has recently earned the label ”Competitive-Sports-Friendly Employer” implemented by Swiss Olympic. I am obviously very pleased to see the creation of this partnership. First, it is good news for us athletes who strive to pursue our dreams in sports but at the same time prepare to integrate in the job market when our sporting career is over. Secondly, it is a positive indicator for our society and economy. This partnership is a wonderful tool for companies who can then benefit from elite athletes’ unique profile and specific skills. It is a win-win situation.
Many elite athletes cannot pursue a regular education, which would provide them with the best assets to find a job. And when they can get an education, they often do not have the capacity to commit to a full- time employment contract. In many cases those two elements are great impairments on the job market and it can be very challenging to find an employer who supports the situation of an elite athlete. By providing flexible working contracts to elite athletes, SWISS has become one of the first companies in the country to officially support athletes and try to improve the situation.
Here is a list of what I believe elite athletes excel at:
– handling pressure
– dealing with failure
– being flexible
– working hard
– working for a team and putting their ego aside
– getting out of their comfort zone
– being highly motivated
– and in most cases, having great social skills.
Sometimes for an athlete, days are long and years are short. During the curling season, I train between one and three times a day. With my team, I spend approximately 180 days during the year away, practicing or competing. Besides my curling schedule, I passed my Bachelor in Economics at the University of Zurich. From the start of my studies until the moment I handed over my Bachelor thesis, five years passed (instead of three years intended for the program). Achieving success in both worlds at the same time requires discipline and organization. But I like to think that if it is what you want to do, it is possible. Along this journey, some days are more difficult than others. At the end of the day, we all have to go through difficult times in order to accomplish great goals. Elite athletes are no exception in this regard.
The first half of my internship at SWISS has been fantastic. I have learned something new every day. The people in my team are committed professionals and support me with great expertise, technical knowledge and leadership skills. I have been involved in various projects, which has given me the opportunity to network with different departments of the company. The challenges are different every single day. I also get the opportunity to exchange experiences with other interns and discover all the different perspectives of our value-added chain. It helps me understand our final product better.
Finally, on a more emotional level it is very exciting to work for a company who convey Swiss values within the country and abroad. This partnership between SWISS and Swiss Olympic is a great ambassador of this spirit.