FORMS Project Partners meet for the first time in person

 

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FORMS Project Partners meet for the first time in person

June 2022 was an exciting landmark in the FORMS project “Researching emerging forms of employment in the European sport sector” for two reasons.

At last, we meet

Firstly, despite the project having run for 18 months, this was the first chance for the seven partners from the five represented countries to meet in person. Up to now, all partner and research meetings have had to take place online due to Covid restrictions. This two-day meeting (9-10 June) was hosted by Mathieu Winand in the excellent facilities at LUNEX university in Luxembourg. All partners welcomed the opportunity to spend more time together, exploring and debating the fascinating issues which their research is revealing around sport employment. On the evening of June 9, Mathieu organised a partner dinner, followed by a walking tour of Luxembourg city centre, which helped the partners to get to know each other better, network informally and appreciate the historical sights of a beautiful city at the heart of Europe. The world of Erasmus+ Sport is finally returning to ‘normality’!

Positive steps forward

Secondly, the partners were able to see significant progress in their research and consultation activities. FORMS now has an integrated desk research report on new forms of employment, a clearer picture of the challenges facing sport employment and the potential solutions and risks that new forms of employment present. Five in-person consultation round tables in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Portugal helped the partners to consult on their research outcomes with national stakeholders, including Ministries, local authorities, national Olympic committees, sport federations and clubs, employer groups, training providers, associations and employees.

The outcomes are all very positive. Stakeholders supported the research findings and welcomed the added flexibility and other opportunities to match supply and demand which new forms of employment can bring. They also explored the potential risks, especially to employee salaries and working conditions, and potential safeguards which need to be put in place. They noted that in some countries there continue to be legal barriers to the introduction of new forms of employment and expressed a strong view that all parts of the sport sector need to unite and speak with one voice to governments.

And onwards to a successful outcome

FORMS is now ready to produce some practical outcomes for the sector through a Compendium of Good Practices and Recommendations due for publication in early 2023. The document will summarise the partner research, evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of different forms of employment for employers and employees, present case studies and recommend what needs to be done at the national level. It will also address the needs of sport clubs, offering them practical guidance on new forms of employment, the issues they need to consider and the steps they can take.

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Geoff Carroll, Director of Skills Development for EOSE said,

“This was such an important moment in the life of the FORMS project. Up to now, it’s been a long-distance relationship, so it was fantastic to meet all the partners, shake hands for the first time and enjoy quality time together both formally and informally. Of course, it would have been better if we could have met in person from the beginning, but ‘better late than never’! Despite the Covid restrictions, our partners have got on with the job in a very professional way.  It is clear now that the initial ideas which we had back in 2020 (when EOSE applied for this innovative and vital project) are now being validated by national stakeholders and will crystallise into some really valuable products which will strengthen the sector in its Covid recovery and better equip it to face the challenges of the future.”

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About FORMS

Funded by the Erasmus+ Sport programme, FORMS brings together a unique combination of three employer organisations, a sport club, two universities and one European umbrella organisation across five EU countries (France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Portugal). FORMS is a two-year collaboration due to complete in December 2022.

Earlier EOSE research through ESSA-Sport (www.essa-sport.eu) revealed that the EU sport labour market is growing and evolving and that new forms of employment are emerging in response to changing political, economic, social and technological trends. The traditional full-time, open-ended contract with one single employer now seems to be in decline. New, diverse employment relationships are appearing – for example employee/employer sharing, entrepreneurship, job sharing, agency work, IT-based mobile work and platform work – which are not fully captured in official statistics and therefore need qualitative exploration. While the full impact of COVID is not yet clear, there is a strong feeling that the pandemic will accelerate their adoption, and sport organisations will need information and guidance not just on employment, but also on the implications for initial education and lifelong learning.

These emerging forms of employment can have a different legal basis and meaning between countries. What is new in one country might be already be widespread and legally established in another. There is much, therefore, to be gained through interaction and knowledge sharing.

FORMS partners will compile available employment statistics, research these new forms of employment in sport and related sectors, analyse their advantages and disadvantages from a range of perspectives, consult with employers and other relevant stakeholders – through five national workshops. The principal output will be a Compendium of Good Practices including a series of recommendations on how sport organisations can manage new employment relationships to the mutual benefit of employers, staff and customers/participants.

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Full list of partners:

> European Observatoire of Sport and Employment (EOSE) – France and EU

Fédération Nationale Profession Sport et Loisirs (FNPSL) – France

Sportwerk Vlaanderen – Belgium

Kortrijk Spurs – Belgium

> International University of Health, Exercise and Sports (LUNEX) – Luxembourg

> Werkgevers in de Sport (WOS) – Netherlands

> Polytechnic Institute of Santarem/Sport Sciences School of Rio Maior (IPSantarem-ESDRM) – Portugal

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Web page: www.forms-sport.eu

Contact: Geoff Carroll – EOSE Director of Skills Development – geoff.carroll@eose.org

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EOSE – European Observatoire of Sport and Employment

A new wave for the sport and active leisure sector

Ensuring the right skills in the right place

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