National Athlete Pathways Workshops
In 2016–17 more than 170 people attended AIS Winning Pathways Workshops. Participants came from national sporting organisations, states institutes and regional academies of sport, universities and state departments of sport and recreation. These facilitated workshops focused on creating and strengthening partnerships across the sector to improve the pathway for athletes to develop from grassroots to the elite level. These forums provided opportunity for the sharing of information, best practice and practical solutions in the areas of talent identification and development and highlighted a number of examples where system partners were working in partnership for the benefit of athletes.
Commonwealth Games Australia/AIS dAIS Program
The AIS and CGA established a new partnership that resulted in the CGA contributing $2 million to directly assist athletes in their preparations for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. In 2016–17 CGA funding was distributed to more than 250 athletes from 20 sports. This included 90 new emerging athletes who would not have received dAIS funding otherwise. In addition the AIS and CGA partnership has identified a number of initiatives and areas where both organisations are working together to support the preparation of Australian athletes and teams in the lead up to and during the Games.
Launched in November 2016, myAISbasecamp is an online, interactive program that provides fun and challenging physical sessions and educational courses to ensure emerging athletes, reach their full sporting potential. The program was developed to address a number of gaps in the athlete pathway including a decline in physical literacy, high levels of musculoskeletal injury, high levels of dropout and poor practice of the required athlete and lifestyle skills. The platform has been custom-designed to appeal to the athletes through its innovative learning environment and community, recognition of competency on completion of modules, video tips from international-level athletes and inclusion of educational resources. A key target of the strategy are athletes located in rural and remote communities where access to specialist sport services is limited.
AusPlay is the single-source participation data currency for the Government and the sport sector to help better understand the participation landscape and identify strategies to grow participation. Sector engagement with AusPlay is increasing with Government, states and NSOs working closely with the ASC to make the most of its rich data and insights. AusPlay has been in field since October 2015. About 400 interviews are conducted every week. The ASC has committed to updating AusPlay data every six months with the next release scheduled for October 2017 (based on 2016–17 financial year fieldwork data).
The Sporting Schools program is a $160 million Australian Government initiative designed to help schools increase children’s participation in sport and to connect them with community sporting opportunities. In 2016–17 the program continued to grow with over 7,000 schools registered with the program representing 83 per cent of all primary, combined and special schools across Australia. This led to the ASC achieving the target of 5,760 funded schools in May 2017. Each term the program funds approximately 3,000 schools to connect with more than 30 NSOs to deliver sport before, during and after school hours. Importantly, this has resulted in more than 300,000 primary school students participating in sport activities through Sporting Schools each term. The program continues to attract high satisfaction ratings from schools with 93 per cent of participating schools either very satisfied or satisfied with the program as a whole.
Physical Literacy Project
The Physical Literacy project was established to define physical literacy and bring a common language and approach to the concept. In June 2016, the ASC engaged 14 Australian and international researchers to develop an Australian Physical Literacy Definition and Standard which provides a framework for Australians to use to support lifelong participation in sport and physical activity. By defining physical literacy, all sectors have a common language to use as they seek to counteract the decline in movement and support an increase in participation across sport, physical activity and recreation. The Standard supports parents, teachers and coaches to help children learn the skills that build physical literacy from a young age.
Sport Sector Partner Survey
Since 2011 the ASC has sought feedback from its partners via an annual survey called the Sport Sector Partner Survey. The survey gathers information on the ASC’s performance and is the primary tool for gathering valid data for a number of organisational key performance indicators. The ASC has received overwhelming input from our partners over the last six surveys, with a response rate of 95 per cent or more in each year. The 2017 edition once again had a high response rate (98 per cent) and also sought comment on the ASC’s priorities and potential areas of focus in the future. The results are being used by the ASC to inform planning.
National Framework for Ethical Behaviour and Integrity in Basketball
In 2015 the board of Basketball Australia (BA) were made aware of the dangers the sport faced from sports betting, especially in semi-professional and amateur competitions. Realising there were minimal integrity controls in the sport and recognising it needed to take action, BA approached the ASC and the National Integrity in Sport Unit (NISU) to assist in developing an integrity framework. The framework incorporates values, principles and a code of conduct to guide BA’s operations and helps to develop clear education and communication strategies. It also implements a robust set of reporting, investigatory and sanctioning provisions to deal with conduct that could bring the integrity of the sport into disrepute. As a result of this successful project, the ASC and NISU will now use the ‘template’ framework developed to build the capability of Australian sports facing similar integrity threats.
Connecting Sport and Technology
In the past year, the ASC has sought to understand how technology is changing Australians’ sport experiences and how sports should respond. Outside of a few professional sports, digital capability within sports organisations is low. Sport boards and CEOs need to focus on increasing their digital literacy and building digital capability within their sport if they are going to meet the changing needs of consumers. A series of whole-of-sport digital strategies were developed for golf, rowing, basketball and canoeing to understand how people interact with and experience each sport. This provided each sport with a deep understanding of how Australians want to engage with them both physically and digitally and provided a roadmap on how to create the desired sport experience. This work contributed to a larger piece of research about how digital services are impacting the Australian sport industry as a whole.
Male Champions of Change
The ASC identified the promotion of women in leadership roles in both the ASC, and in the sporting sector, as a key priority. To accelerate change in this area the ASC committed to the Male Champions of Change Sport (MCCS) program. The program involved leaders from national and elite sporting organisations, most of whom are male, taking action to advance gender equality in Australian sport and their own organisations. Initiatives implemented by the ASC to create an environment where both women and men can thrive include:
Flexible Work Agreements
The ASC recognises employees need to balance their work and lifestyle to meet work, personal and family commitments. The ASC conducted a pilot Flexible Work Program for the Corporate Operations Division, from October 2016 to March 2017, to trial the introduction of a more flexible approach to work arrangements. These arrangements can include compressed hours, part-time work, working from home or teleworking, flexible start and finish times, job sharing, phased retirement and breastfeeding or lactation breaks. The pilot was successful and endorsed by all employees and managers in the participant group. As a result, the ASC expanded the program, promoting it across the workforce and the uptake of Flexible Work Agreements increased from 45 staff in 2015–16 to 105 staff in 2016–17.
Strategic Asset Review
The ASC has a substantial asset base mainly comprising specialised sporting facilities in Australia and the European Training Centre in Varese, Italy as well as some supporting administration facilities. During 2017 the ASC commenced a Strategic Asset Management Review to develop a capital investment strategy that represents the ASC’s long term vision for its site and facilities, and supports the ASC’s business strategy and operating model. The result of the capital investment strategy will be used to inform the submission to Government as part of the National Sport Plan.