Most will recognise Jordanne Whiley MBE as one of Britain’s most successful tennis players. A 2x Paralympic medallist and 12x Grand Slam Champion, Jordanne is now making a seamless transition from elite sport into her next career.
“When did you know ‘it was time’?”
“After Rio 2016, I thought I was done with sport”, Jordanne explains. She was tipped for an individual medal but, unfortunately, a broken wrist ended her Paralympic competition early. “It was quite a traumatising time and I wasn’t in a good headspace to be making big career decisions”, she admits.
So Jordanne took a break from tennis for a while but remained on the programme. In 2017, her son was born and Jordanne explains “after I’d had Jackson, I felt ready to get back on the court. Tokyo was only a few years away so I came back with a purpose.” With a definite timeline, Jordanne set her sights on a Tokyo medal that would round off her international career.
Jordanne has played tennis all her life. Like her father before her, she’s represented GB on the world stage, but Tokyo 2021 will be her last Games.
“Why did you decide to move on?”
“I’ll only be 29 after the Games, I can’t just retire at 29”, she laughs. “We have a son and we’d like more children, so I’ll need to work!” Jordanne started planning ahead early, to make sure she had the qualifications she’d need before launching into the world of work.
In 2019, she studied remotely with the London Institute of Banking and Finance and qualified as a Mortgage Advisor in 2020. “I didn’t have much interest in my school subjects”, Jordanne admits, “but I’ve always been good with finances and I’m interested in property, so it’s perfect.”
“What career-transition support did you receive?”
“Our Performance Lifestyle practitioner, Clare Stacey, helped me to get a place at uni because I’d actually missed the enrolment deadline. She also made sure I received the education grant from UK Sport. She was a huge support.”
Jordanne’s fiancé, also a former Paralympic tennis player, had transitioned out of sport already, and gave her a lot of encouragement. A friend at university gave Jordanne useful advice and she was quickly accepted onto an internship programme after she’d qualified. Within two months, they’d offered her a job.
“What are your plans for the future?”
“I want to go full-time after Tokyo and focus on helping other athletes. Because of their lifestyle, athletes need specialist mortgage brokers, so that’s what I want to specialise in.”
Jordanne juggles Tokyo preparation with motherhood and working from home for Hearthstone Mortgages. Thanks to early preparation, she’s laid the perfect foundations from a stress-free transition into life after sport.
“What advice would you give to somebody preparing to retire from sport?”
“You need to give yourself lots of time to figure out exactly what you want to do and how you’re going to do it. I’m pleased with how I went about it. Some athletes leave it too late. You need time – at least 18 months – especially if you’re still competing at a high level”.
Jordanne focused on sport as a teenager and didn’t get A-Levels. She now works with all things finance: equity release, bridging loans, life insurance and, of course, mortgage advice. It took time to study and qualify in a new field, so Jordanne underlines the value of starting early.
“It’s an important topic”, she states, “it needs to be spoken about more. Athletes commit to sport at a young age and neglect their education, but then have nothing to turn to down the line.”
Jordanne was fortunate that her World Class Programme offered Performance Lifestyle support but most athletes aren’t that lucky. At TTP, we want to step up and give athletes the advice and resources they need to prepare for their next career.
At TTP, we know there are a lot of athletes who don’t have access to the same performance lifestyle advice, and could benefit from more career-transition support. That’s why we’re here!
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