Why vocational training works well with sports and school?
Competitive sports and top vocational training: possible with the vocational sport school by Feusi
Competitive sports or vocational training? Neither I nor any other young talent should have to choose one or the other. That's why I chose to combine the two. I, Virág Tóth, would like to tell you about my path as a competitive athlete and trainee.
I have been a passionate handball player for over eleven years. I was introduced to the sport by my mother, who herself played for over 30 years. It all started for me as an eight-year-old on the small field, and now I play in the adult first league. For me, the sport of handball is not just a purely physical activity that provides a good balance to everyday life. When I play, I feel exhilarated when I hear the audience cheering. Every success we achieve as a team gives me a great feeling and spurs me on to keep pushing myself to my limits — even when it seems hopeless. And my team is like a second family to me. It supports, motivates and respects me, and we also celebrate together.
In addition to competitive sports, doing a vocational training programme was also important to me. So in 9th grade, I was faced with the choice of whether my athletic goals or vocational training were more important to me. Fortunately, when I came across the Feusi Education Centre online, I realised I didn’t have to choose.
Feusi offered the perfect way for me to complete a vocational training programme and continue to play sports at a high level at the same time — the sports business school. This training lasts four years and offers a school environment tailored to the special requirements of competitive athletes. The classes are half-day, so there is enough time for individual training sessions. With practice firm VitaliKa, which is part of a practice enterprise market that replicates processes and interrelationships of the real economy, the students receive practical training to hone their commercial skills. Athletes can apply these during their 18-month part-time internships.
My second year at the sports business school had just begun, and it was already time to look for a suitable company for an internship. This was anything but easy. Preparing the right application for each company presented a challenge to the student athletes. But fortunately we did not have to do this on our own; Feusi helped us. Of course, we got some disappointing rejections, but despite some setbacks, no student ended up without an internship.
I knew my internship company, Schaerer AG, through my father. He has been working at Schaerer for several years, and has only good things to say about it. This made me interested in working here as well. Unfortunately, they did not offer this kind of internship at that time, so my father approached the HR department and asked if they would be willing to support an athlete in her vocational training. They were intrigued, and shortly thereafter, they received my application documents. As they were also interested in getting to know me, they invited me to two trial days, followed by an interview. During this brief introduction to the company, I immediately liked the working atmosphere and the open-minded, helpful and understanding employees.
After the two trial days, it was clear that I did not want to do my internship at any company other than Schaerer AG. When they told me during the interview that they wanted to hire me as an intern starting on August 1, 2019, I was very happy.
Professional sports or vocational training? No young talent in competitive sports should have to make that choice. That's why it's all the more important to find a training position that allows you to seriously pursue sports along with your professional career. However, for such a collaboration to work at all, a high degree of flexibility and dedication is required from both the employer and the trainee.
For me personally, it wasn't an option to rely only on playing sports. In addition to my greatest passion, playing handball, it was also important for me to complete a vocational training programme. In professional sports, the risk of injury is ever-present. In just one second, your career can be over forever. That is why I chose to attend the sports business school.
Today, with the high demands of competitive sports and vocational training, anyone who manages to successfully master both can, in my opinion, take pride in their self-discipline.
In addition, an athlete is usually only seen as a person who regularly and intensively practices one or more sports. While that's true, there’s much more to it, and only very few people know what they have to sacrifice. An athlete pushes her soul to its limits every time to get better every day. Mental strength also plays a huge role here, when I tried everything together with the team, but in the end it still didn't add up to a win. And this despite having almost nine hours of training and preparation time a week.
I had to set priorities early on to be able to make my dream of playing handball come true. I also paid a high price for it at times: Broken friendships, missed birthdays, weddings, or time with family — in some cases I missed entire summers because I was busy practising.
During my training, I always made sure that nothing was neglected, be it school, sports or work — which, to be honest, was not always easy. In the process, I realized that it is important to focus only on the task at hand at any given time. Sometimes I wanted to discuss the plays for the next match even though I was still at school.
“Which department did you like best?” — I was often asked this question. It is difficult for me to answer, because I don't think you can compare the departments. The different areas of responsibility and therefore the types of work are very diverse and I enjoyed the variety. What I really appreciated was that I was very warmly welcomed into every team, which made me feel at home very quickly.
I learned a lot of new things during my internship. For example, an important lesson for me was that speed does not always equal quality. It's better to take a little more time to do it right than to do it quickly. Right at the beginning of my internship, I had the chance to plan National Future Day together with the commercial interns, which was very exciting for me. I worked in the HR, export, and marketing departments. This helped me get to know the teams and the tasks in detail and also what it means to work independently. Now that my internship is complete, I feel prepared for the working world, as I was able to develop not only professionally, but also personally, by learning to work independently and take responsibility.
Feusi is a targeted, accredited and owner-operated private school group. It offers consistent and practice-oriented educational programmes in an informal atmosphere. Feusi stands for lifelong learning, flexibility and competence. This is also demonstrated by its 200,000 graduates who have been expanding their knowledge since 1952. There is also a wide range of vocational training opportunities for athletes, allowing them to pursue competitive sports and complete their training at the same time. These sports schools have been certified partner schools of Swiss Olympics since 2004.
Swiss Olympics is the National Olympic Committee and the umbrella organisation for organised Swiss athletics under private law. It has 104 members and approximately two million athletes in around 19,500 clubs.
Schaerer AG has been training commercial clerks and logistics specialists since 2009. And since 2018, computer scientists, design engineers, mechanics, electricians and technicians have been mastering their apprenticeships at Schaerer as well.
Students in 5th through 7th grade also have the opportunity to accompany parents and other caregivers to work each year. This event is called National Future Day, in which SAG also takes part every year.