Few people, including employers, doubt that the qualities of commitment and ambition are an essential part of the make-up of elite athletes. They are certainly inherent in Finland's Olli-Pekka Karjalainen (born 7.3.80). He not only was the European Champion in 2006, but also place 6th in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Whilst Olli-Pekka did manage to balance his sporting career with gaining a Masters Degree, he retired in 2013 without ever having had the time to experience a 'normal job'. This was the time, when he began to understand that while athletes are admired by prospective employers, their wider skills are not always fully understood: "Most of employers respect the career as an athlete but they don't necessarily see it as a real value when looking to hire people for their organisation." Thankfully, Olli-Pekka's post sporting retirement career is thriving with a role in the international promotion of the Finnish Olympic Training Centre.
However, he has still seen value in the ACP as it brings the type of analysis and guidance he benefited from in athletics, into a wider connection – the world of career development. "After a very successful path in athletics, I had to stop and think about what I want from the rest of my life. As you can imagine, all tools helping this process are very warmly welcomed. I undertook tests and consultations to understand the skills I had or needed to develop to further my career."
It affirmed, he already had a huge amount of transferable skills gained as an elite athlete for example in finance, marketing and communication that he had developed naturally and without realising when managing his own sporting career. "The ACP can save you years of time as you strive to find the right path for the rest of your career."
Director of training center, Kuortane Sports Institute & former Olympic javelin thrower
"It is easy for a former elite athlete to get used to work at the Olympic Training Center. Olli automatically understands the needs of our clients and knows the name of the game. The background of elite athletes matches well with a work environment where people are ambitious and goals are set high. Olli-Pekka is a good example of an athlete, who is doing really well in working life immediately after retiring from his sports career. The same abilities – such as natural interaction with people, goal-directed actions and large national and international networks – which helped Olli-Pekka to be a great athlete, also make him successful in his working career."