Skills4Sports: lack of mechanisms, policies and funds to tackle employment in the sport sector in Greece


On Thursday 6th of June 2021, the Development Agency of Evia - Lead Beneficiary of Skills4Sports project within the ENI CBC MED programme - organized a focus group with local and regional stakeholders in the sports field.

During the discussion, the importance of the project was highlighted because of the opportunities that give to young people in the sector of sports through the development of new updated educational programmes. With the digital tools that will be designed and the “Strategic Alliance for Skills4Sports” network that will be created, the project will offer young people the possibility to earn new knowledge in the field of sport, business, market and management.

Moreover, the invited stakeholders noted the need for support mechanisms so that the opportunities for the employability of young people increase although the difficulties and the threats that this sector faces. Furthermore, special mention was made for the existing resources and the necessary improvements in the field. Also, the focus group highlighted the advantages of the sport sector in Greece and the sport professions' thrive nowadays. In the end, there was a special reference about the effect of technology combined with the pandemic on the sport’s trends sector.

We are happy to share the main discussion points and outcomes of the focus group below:

Better support mechanisms, more employment opportunities
In the area of Evia, there is a great need for the creation of an integrated supporting mechanism to develop the skills of young people. There is already some progress towards the creation of self-evaluation tools but still, there is a lot of work to be done. The general area has the need of new educational programs that will upgrade the mechanisms. Moreover, with new technological skills, young people will gain new opportunities towards the employability in the sports-labour market, especially to e-sports professions and to the popular ones of coaches, nutritionists, team leaders, physiotherapists etc.

Obstacles of sports sector in Evia
The lack of supporting mechanisms is not the only facing obstacle. There is also a great lack of policy and financial support. Most teams are amateur teams in which the budget covers only their basic needs so that there is no possibility of creating new job opportunities. The financial crisis in combination to the pandemic increase this lack of resources and cause a reduction of jobs. Another problem that sports sector faces is the underfunding which affects the operation of sports association and the organization of sports events.

Which are the existing resources and the necessary improvements? 
According to the President of the Football Coaches Association of the Prefecture of Evia, Mr. Tokpasidis, there are a few projects and events that will upgrade the sports infrastructure. But mainly the area of Evia needs sports educational programmes, especially in the football area concerning coach and referee skills. Recently, the Refereeing School Football Association of Evia organized an event with participants of 16-30 years old. There is also a same school of coaching, the Hellenic Football Federation, whose students don’t need to have a university degree. 
We can realize that except of this organization, there is still a lot of improvement on funding, vocation guidance and specialized educational programs that through the project “Skills4Sports” can be achieved.

The great advantage of sports sector in Greece 
The sports teams in Greece have the convenience of the geographical location and as a result of it, the temperate climate which contributes to the easy movements of sports team and the organization of many sport events. The location also facilitates the development of sport tourism, as many sport tourists come to Greece, joining different activities while expressing their interest in the Greek sports remarkable history.

Upcoming sport professions and new trends
The most growing professions, related directly or not with sport's sector, concern gymnasts, dietitian-nutritionists, marketers, coaches, sports doctors, physiotherapists and psychologists. At this point, is very important to mention that technology and pandemic bring a new era in the sport sector.They urge the need of developing e-sport professions which increase the employability. People, now, follow a new lifestyle, being more careful about their health and their psychology and giving priority to well-being. As a consequence of the quarantine, the e-sport sector was activated with fresh ideas, offering great job opportunities.