To achieve greatness on the world stage, a professional athlete needs two things: an irrepressible desire to be stronger, faster, better than everybody else; and an experienced and dedicated support team.
Brooke Irvine, Senior Manager Club Services at Gymnastics Australia, explains how important screening practices are when trying to find the most appropriate and qualified people to fill these important roles.
A multicultural sport
“International gymnastics coaches and trainers working in Australian clubs can offer new perspectives in terms of training methodologies, knowledge and experience and can, in some cases, help to build our capacity,” says Irvine.
However, there is an inherent risk in employing international coaches and, as with any business, failing to do appropriate background checks could lead to serious consequences. In this case, these may include deportation of the employee, child protection issues and, if recruiting to financial positions, the potential of theft or embezzlement.
Businesses can face infringements or civil penalties for workers who don’t have the correct or current visas entitling them to work in Australia, and the Department of Immigration and Border Control expects employers to take reasonable steps to ensure they are complying with their obligations. This means checking the details of any non-citizen’s visa to determine which type of visa they hold, when it was issued and when it will expire, and whether it has any work restrictions.
Irvine says conducting international background checks makes it easier to access information about a potential international employee’s competence and qualifications, as well as their criminal record and whether they are legally allowed to live and work in this country.
“As we do employ international coaches across all levels of the sport, it is important to be aware of the risks and to make sure you employ someone you can be confident is suitable for the role,” Irvine says.
Luckily, she says, through the organisation’s relationship with CVCheck, the state and territory associations and clubs can access resources to assist in finding the right people for these roles.
“CVCheck provides ease of access to obtain international reference checks and police checks, and the translation of those documents and information,” says Irvine.
“They also provide guidance on which type of checks people can and possibly should get, and information on the myriad checks available.”
In fact, with offices in both Australia and New Zealand, CVCheck conducts more than 100,000 different screening and verification checks annually for both private organisations, government bodies and individuals.
Culture is king
Irvine says that by performing background checks as standard practice for any person working or volunteering at a gymnastics club, in any capacity, they can create a safe and supportive culture throughout the sport.
“For us, it’s really important to start to provide information to clubs on who they need to check and how to go about it, so that no one falls through the cracks. This includes board members, volunteers, club personnel and staff,” she says.
“Our key focus is to reduce risk, to the clubs, to the state and territory associations, and to Gymnastics Australia.”
Working together for the sport
Gymnastics Australia uses background checks as a matter of course, and is determined to help make it easier for clubs across Australia to access the services they need, when they need them.
“We developed a brochure in consultation with CVCheck that indicates some of the various checks that are available,” says Irvine.
“This information has been tailored to gymnastics and provided to all clubs and state/territory associations in the hope that it will assist in their recruitment processes.
“Some people would probably have no idea that half of these checks even existed, but there is a great breadth and depth of services available.”
For Irvine, using background checks is about finding the right person for the role and proving due diligence before appointing new board members, volunteers or staff.
Most importantly, it decreases risk and increases the opportunities to provide safe and supportive environments where Australian gymnasts can achieve their full potential.