The planning and staging of the Olympic Games offer thousands of young professionals an opportunity to acquire new skills and experience needed to enter a tough and competitive job market, including hundreds working for the Organising Committee. A new guide published by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), aims to further enhance this opportunity.
The publication, entitled The Olympic Games: A Springboard for Young Professionals, offers suggestions for future and potential Olympic Games organisers on how to put in place even greater youth employment and development opportunities.
“Youth is the lifeblood of the Olympic Games,” says Marie Sallois, IOC Director of Corporate and Sustainable Development. “The Games are a unique occasion for a host to provide its young professionals with significant employment and skills development opportunities. It is imperative that we leverage these opportunities to help as many young people as possible to kick off their professional life.”
The number of young people aged 15-24 currently in employment, education or training has fallen by 15 percentage points in the past two decades to just 22 per cent, according to the ILO. The COVID-19 pandemic could reduce youth employment levels even further.
Workforce is one of the five focus areas of the IOC Sustainability Strategy. The IOC sets out requirements for an Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (OCOG) that include the provision of skills development opportunities for young professionals.
Building a legacy for host cities
According to the guide, investments in attracting, employing and developing young professionals yield important legacies for a host community.
Young professionals contribute to the successful delivery of the Games while obtaining and strengthening their technical, soft and core skills in event planning, operations, communication, teamwork, problem solving, mediation, personal development, technology and leadership. These skills are then leveraged in their careers after the Games, increasing their opportunities and providing employers with a highly talented and skilled workforce adapted to the future of work.
As part of Rio 2016’s JADE programme, which targeted Rio’s youth from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, approximately 500 apprentices benefited from an eight-month training programme focused on the sports industry and the development of sports management skills, along with practical work experience.
In Korea, PyeongChang 2018 worked with the government to hire nearly 330 prospective government employees to fill critical administrative roles. Over a six-month period, the young professionals worked in almost 35 different positions, moving into government jobs after the Games and obtaining additional skills, beneficial to their future positions.Paris 2024 has made the broadest commitments to young professionals amongst recent Games. Already in the bid phase, the Paris 2024 team focused on young people across nearly all of their Games’ objectives, setting up a Generation 2024 committee to ensure young people were included in all aspects of the Games’ vision. Paris 2024 is currently planning an Academy that will operate as a long-term provider of event-related training and education after the Games conclude.