The Kick-off meeting for the Erasmus+ Sport Programme ‘STICK Project’ took place on the 8th and 9th February at Atlètic Terrassa HC and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. The project, which is being co-ordinated by Atlètic Terrassa HC, hopes to design and implement a European mobility scheme for academic student athletes.
During the first meeting the group began to plan the two-year project and assign different tasks and objectives to each phase of the project. The group began debating the specific needs and difficulties which athletes can face when it comes to combining academic study abroad with high level performance hockey.
Representatives from five leading European hockey clubs; Atlètic Terrassa HC, Beeston HC, KHC Dragons, HC Rotterdam and Pembroke Wanderers HC; were joined by staff from the International and Dual Career departments on behalf of the five universities in the consortium; Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Nottingham Trent University, University of Antwerpen, Erasmus Rotterdam University and Dublin City University.

Following on from the meeting the implementation phase of the project is to take place. This will involve analysing the current issues when attempting to combine studying with playing high performance hockey abroad and collectively trying to find effective solutions to the issues raised.
Surveys will be prepared and sent to all hockey clubs and universities from the five respective countries. Focus groups will then be formed to talk to students athletes from different sports in order to understand their points of view and needs.
The results of these surveys and focus group discussions will be analysed jointly within the STICK’s consortium framework at the next meeting. The results gathered from this process will initiate the second phase of the project which will involve building a pilot programme for academic and sport exchange. The programme will then be tested and eventually adapted for its implementation to all sports and universities.
The next working meeting will be hosted in Nottingham by Beeston HC and Nottingham Trent University in June 2018.