Since 1982, RATP has offered continuous support to around ten elite athletes, giving them the opportunity to pursue their sporting career whilst also entering the business world. It also helps these athletes to prepare for life after sport.
RATP Top Athletes programme is part of an agreement signed with the French Ministry of Health, Youth and Sport. RATP is committed to hiring athletes recommended by the Ministry, integrating them in the company, following their sporting career and guiding their transition to a new line of work.
RATP has supported this programme since the Top Athletes Agreement was first introduced in 1982. Ten athletes benefit from the programme at any one time. RATP gives priority to elite sportspeople from its own club, US Métro.
Each sportsperson is assigned to an RATP department. Their working hours are adjusted to allow them to train and compete. A Human Resources team helps them choose a career and undertake the necessary training, in accordance with their profile, skills and aspirations. Former athletes are thus able to become long-term RATP staff members. RATP values the qualities that make these people top sporting performers: competitiveness, self-discipline, a cool head and an ability to share.
• Épéiste / Levallois Fencing Club
• IT project manager
• Wrestling / US Métro
• Security Officer
• Wrestling / French Women’s Champion
• Security supervisor
• Geotechnical research engineer
• Disabled sports guide
• Supervisor on RER Line A
Ulrich Robeiri, one of RATP’s top athletes, won his fifth consecutive world team title at the Grand Palais during the championships that took place in Paris in November 2010. He explains how he strikes a balance between sportsmanship and work.
How did you become a top athlete?
Some French fencers told me about this status. After the Beijing Games, my priority was to get an agreement. I sent my CV to RATP and was fortunate right from the start to join a highly motivating project: the creation of a database for management control. Today, I’m responsible for its maintenance.
On a daily basis, how do you organise your double life as a fencer and an RATP employee?
As an IT project manager at RATP, I work an average thirty hours per week. I practice once a day at INSEP, either in the morning before starting work at RATP, or late afternoon, after work.
How do you get along with your work colleagues?
I was very quickly accepted for what I am: a top athlete with all the constraints and particularities that come with that. My colleagues support me in my project and career, and encourage me. Some of them came to watch at the Grand Palais. I even get the feeling that they’re proud to be sharing this experience with me from day to day.
Does this job stability have an impact on your sport results?
Definitely. I was looking for a balance; I wanted to learn a profession, something for my future. I’ve found all of that.
Do you feel mentally stronger when you are competing?
I don’t know. But one thing’s for sure: going to the office day after day helps me to put any doubts and failures I might encounter in fencing into perspective. At work, I think of other things and talk about different topics. Also, being in a work environment every day helps you understand what life is like for most people, a reality that high-level sport sometimes tends to let you forget.
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