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LAPS gives sports professionals a helping hand for careers after sport

Professional footballer Robbie Simpson has launched a recruitment platform to help sports professionals and elite athletes find new careers after sport

Life After Professional Sport (LAPS) is the only business of its type in the UK, and it lanched on 5th December 2016. Exeter City striker Robbie, who has also played with Leyton Orient, Oldham, Huddersfield, Brentford, Coventry and Cambridge Utd, has co-founded LAPS with recruitment consultant Rob Steed, ex-England U19 cricket captain Paul Redfarn and technology expert Nathan Hastings.

“The governing bodies offer what help they can, but there are thousands of sportspeople in the UK who still have years and years of work ahead of them. Sports careers are usually pretty short, and it’s been proven that sportspeople have loads of great qualities that employers outside sport really want to attract.

“There isn’t enough support for sportspeople when their professional careers end.” says Robbie.

Sir Richard Branson recently endorsed LAPS in his blog, citing his own top 10 reasons why employers should hire former sports professionals.

He said, “Life after sport can be a challenging time, but it needn’t be. It’s a wonderful opportunity for reinvention…. athletes have a wonderful advantage to succeed in the professional world after retirement.”

LAPS has also had support from England players Adam Lallana, Alex Scott and Danny Cipriani, who all feature in a recent video on the site. One of the features of LAPS is an ongoing series of interviews with sports professionals who have already transitioned successfully away from sport.

The series includes such stars of sport as former England cricketers Jack Russell and Graham Napier, Scotland striker Chris Iwelumo, 8-times paralympic gold medallist Sophie Christiansen, Crystal Palace and Ghana footballer Kwesi Appiah, and many, many more. “We’re getting fantastic support from the sports community,” says Robbie. “Everyone in

“We’re getting fantastic support from the sports community,” says Robbie.

“Everyone in sport knows how fickle it can be, and it can be massively scary to think of that career ending. LAPS is here to help people to make the transition, and give them the security they need beyond sport.”

The issue of depression in retired sports professionals and elite athletes is well documented; over a quarter of footballers suffer depression, and three out of every five Premier League players (who earn an average of £30K per week) declare bankruptcy within five years of retirement. And it’s by no means limited to football.

Robbie hopes that LAPS will help sportspeople of all ages to find renewed purpose and fulfilment after their sports careers end. “It’s a worrying time when you’re approaching retirement, or if you get injured,” he says. “We want to help people to have more security, and take some of that stress away.”

Recruitment expert Rob said, “The characteristics of successful sportspeople are often what employers are looking for. Competitiveness, resilience, the ability to perform under pressure, a genuine understanding of teamwork, the mindset for success; what better way to bring all those skills into your business than by recruiting sports professionals? Until now there has not been a platform in the UK designed specifically for that purpose – so we’ve created LAPS.”

The platform itself is an exclusive, members-only community and every applicant is individually verified. It is also 100% free to use for the elite athletes. Once accepted, members have access to all sorts of advice and resources, all specifically tailored for sportspeople.

There’s advice on everything from how to find the right career to writing a killer CV, and every sector and role overview includes information on qualifications and training so users know straight away how feasible it would be for them, and how to give themselves an advantage.

There are numerous videos interviews with sports professionals as well as academics and employers, and of course, there are job ads, placed by employers specifically looking to recruit sports professionals.

The LAPS Team is working with a number of other high profile organisations and charities in its bid to provide the ultimate career support for sports professionals nationwide. Robbie says, “We’re working with governing bodies and players’ unions to make sure we’re covering all bases and forming solid partnerships that will benefit our members. That also means talking to employers who specifically want to recruit former sports professionals.”

A career in professional sport is a lifelong dream for many people, but it’s usually short-lived. “Sports professionals and elite athletes are used to giving their all and performing under huge pressure at the very top of their game,” says Rob. “What employer wouldn’t want that kind of talent and motivation in their workforce?”

A career in professional sport is a lifelong dream for many people, but it’s usually short-lived. “Sports professionals and elite athletes are used to giving their all and performing under huge pressure at the very top of their game,” says Rob. “What employer wouldn’t want that kind of talent and motivation in their workforce?”

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