TRAIL (BUILDING) SECTOR STAKEHOLDER SURVEY REPORT – EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The mountain bike trail sector survey forms part of the “Developing Intereuropean Resources for Trail builder Training (DIRTT)” project, funded under the ERASMUS+ programme, which aims to develop an educational framework and professional training programme for the mountain bike trail sector. In total, 121 survey respondents from 16 different European countries provided data suitable for inclusion in this report.
The main findings of this report are that there is clear demand within the mountain bike trail sector for certified training, and that particular priority is based on the construction and maintenance sectors. Key themes for training requirements included but were not limited to sustainability, safety, drainage, and documentation.
BRIEF OUTLINE OF METHODOLOGY
The survey was developed to identify the priority areas for training in respect of the design, planning, construction, maintenance, and management of sustainable mountain bike trails. A mixed-methods approach was adopted which combined a quantitative needs analysis with qualitative questions to test the assumptions upon which the needs analysis was predicated.
The skills and competencies addressed within the quantitative questions were derived from existing guidelines and frameworks, and from the expertise of all partner organisations. The survey was created and delivered using Qualtrics software and made available in both English and Portuguese. Responses to qualitative questions were exported to NVivo 12 (QRS International) for thematic analysis.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
In summary, the results of this survey show that there is a clear demand for certified training in the mountain bike trail building sector. A majority of stakeholders indicated that sufficient
training is not currently available to meet the needs of their organisation, and that introducing certified training in the sector would increase the quality and sustainability of mountain bike
trails. As a result, a majority of stakeholders also indicated that they would be likely to prioritise training which leads to certification within the sector.
When considering cross sector working, stakeholders reported a feeling of insufficient common understanding of the process of trail construction and maintenance, again noting that guidelines in relation to these topics would benefit the trail sector. These findings are echoed throughout the following training needs analysis, where construction and maintenance topics were consistently highlighted as priority areas for training. Indeed, both professional and voluntary respondents felt sufficiently competent in only 3 of 28 skills falling under construction and maintenance. Full details of these topics are available in the training needs analysis section on page X, though the results suggest that all topics encompassed here should be a key area of focus for training. This finding was once again supported by results of the qualitative analysis where maintenance was the most referenced theme, followed by sustainability. Drainage and soils appear to be of particular importance, each referenced 29 specifically 10 times. Respondents reported insufficient perceived ability in topics relating to sustainability and environmental considerations across planning, design, and construction, again highlighting a particular demand for training in these areas throughout the trail building process. Planning training needs analysis returned the highest level of perceived competency,
however master planning and design development became recurring themes for training need in both professional and voluntary roles within the sector. Safety and risk management techniques were both highlighted as key areas for training in both training needs analysis and qualitative reporting, with safety referenced 15 times and risk management techniques ranking as the highest priority training need during the design phase. Documentation and legislation topics followed a similar pattern with 8 references of the documentation and approvals theme from the qualitative results. This is supported by large training needs values reported across all five topics relating to legislation and documentation throughout design, construction and maintenance, highlighting the
requirement for appropriate training in these areas. Volunteer respondents largely reported similar training need topics, but with larger training needs values than professional counterparts. While not entirely surprising, this highlights the need for education of voluntary workers in the sector to ensure consistent quality across the board. It should also be noted that management was referenced 10 times by respondents, suggesting that professional trail builders may benefit from management training to aid coordination of staff, both voluntary and professional.
In conclusion, there is a strong demand for certified training in the mountain bike trail building sector that is not currently available in order to increase the quality and sustainability of mountain bike trails. There are a wide range of training needs across all stages of trail building reported, with construction and maintenance topics highlighted as the highest priority for training needs.