OLYMPIC cycling champion Callum Skinner has revealed how he took a job as a Tesco delivery driver during the coronavirus pandemic.
The 28-year-old, who won gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics, was planning to use his sporting platform for freelance work after retiring from the sport.
However since the first lockdown hit in March last year, Skinner’s events work was either postponed or cancelled, prompting him to find other sources of income.
He said that finding work during COVID was “challenging” so turned to the delivery driver role at Tesco which, according to website Glassdoor, pays on average £9 per-hour.
The Glasgow-born athlete said he found the role “immensely gratifying” and revealed how he was working alongside former pilots, graduates and sales directors.
During his supermarket stint, Skinner was able to help deliver groceries to many elderly, vulnerable customers who had been shielding from the virus.
Writing on his LinkedIn page yesterday, Skinner, who currently lives in Manchester, said: “Looking for full-time work was challenging during COVID.
“Just as most companies went on a spending freeze limiting consultancy work, they did the same with job adverts.
“I started to see if I could volunteer, seeking work with the NHS or Trussell Trust to help those most affected by COVID.
“Opportunities were slim. In the end, I took an opportunity working for Tesco as a delivery driver.
“The proposition didn’t appear as satisfying as volunteering, but I found taking up a role as a key worker immensely gratifying.
“I met many elderly, vulnerable or shielding customers for whom the Tesco driver was their only face to face contact sometimes for weeks at a time.
“The efficiency of a large grocer meant we helped a lot of people in the day. Perhaps more than if I had loaded up my car with food parcels?
“The background of some of my co-workers was also eye-opening; Airline Pilots, Cabin Stewards, Graduates, Sales Directors.
“I found it fascinating to meet a diverse range of people who were in a similar situation to me, but doing their best to make a difference.
Skinner explained how he planned to develop the platform he had built following his retirement from the sport and was conscious his public relevance “would diminish” after the next Olympics.
He explained: “The best statistic I could pull to illustrate the extent to which things came to a grinding halt, is my flight count. 55 flights in 2019, zero flights from March 2020.
“I was, however, looking to cut back on my flights, so that was one aim for 2020 that I achieved!”
The Scots athlete also revealed how he worked for a “smorgasbord” of different companies from a PLC to a family business and as well as a business owned by Mike Ashley.
He also continued work with 5 Rings Coffee – a company Skinner set up with fellow Olympians Owain Doull and Philip Hindes.
Skinner now works as a Sales Development Lead for consumer goods and tech company, The Hut Group Ingenuity.
The 2016 Rio Olympic gold and silver medalist competed at his third Commonwealth Games for Team Scotland in Gold Coast, taking bronze in the Kilo.
At the Rio 2016 Olympics his winning time, alongside Jason Kenny and Philip Hindes, in the Team Sprint was a new Olympic Record as they defeated New Zealand to take the Olympic title.
His silver medal came in the Individual Sprint where he was defeated in an all-British final by Kenny.
He took four gold medals at the British Championships as well as European Championship gold in the Kilo in 2014.