An innovative programme to support female footballers in transition to their post-playing careers is launched today by Women in Football with global human resources organisation The Adecco Group (TAG) and its talent solutions brand LHH.
Players taking part in The Next Goal will work with a team of expert facilitators to discover more about their own skills and characteristics and how these can be highly transferable to other professions, both on and off the pitch, in the sports industry and beyond.
The knowledge and connections of the facilitators will also give the players insights into a broad range of career options and help to extend their professional networks.
The launch of The Next Goal comes just days after a call for greater career transitioning support was voiced by Raising the Bar, the UK government-commissioned report on the future of women’s football led by Karen Carney MBE.
Women in Football CEO Yvonne Harrison said: “As elite players from across the world prepare for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, many other players are coming to the end of their careers – but how many are truly prepared for this? This is why we’ve created The Next Goal programme with LHH and The Adecco Group.”
Mayi Cruz Blanco, The Adecco Group’s Managing Director for Sports Practice and Partnerships, said: “We are passionate about supporting players in their careers beyond the field. They develop skills and knowledge that could be game changers for football. It’s time the industry strategically seeks to retain this talent.”
The Next Goal follows on from Champion Your Future – a 2022 joint initiative between WIF and LHH in a single-day workshop format, created as a pledge for Women in Football’s #GetOnside campaign. Leadership and development sessions in the new programme will build on the successes of the earlier project as well as drawing on WIF’s hugely successful Leadership Course in partnership with Barclays.
Players taking part in The Next Goal will receive bespoke support over an extended period of time which includes personal mentoring, helping them to recognise their own potential and how to build upon it.
Among the participants at Champion Your Future was former England, Brighton & Hove Albion and Everton star Fern Whelan, who received support from LHH as her playing days drew to a close and is now EDI Women’s Football Executive with the Professional Footballers’ Association.
She said: “I learned a lot about myself as a person, not just as a footballer and as a player. I learnt a lot about CV writing, job interview skills, transferable skills to go into the working world today – so it made that transition a lot smoother.”
The Next Goal begins in September 2023. Places are fully funded but strictly limited to 16. Players who are interested in joining or would like to know more are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.