DIRTT project | Erasmus + Strategic Partnerships

About the project

The DIRTT project (Developing Intereuropean Resources for Trail building Training) springs from the core of Europe’s mountain bike enthusiasts, volunteers, and professionals centered around the European branch of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA Europe). The aim is to develop an educational framework and professional training program for people active in the trail building sector, addressing the needs of professionals and volunteers in the field of of planning, design, construction, maintenance and management of mountain bike trails. 

Partner organisations

The partners in the project are from a number of backgrounds including advocacy organisations, sports associations, governmental- and educational institutions, tourism, as well as private enterprises in the MTB trail building sector. The countries involved are Switzerland, Portugal, Scotland, Netherlands, Denmark and Norway. The three-year project is coordinated by lead applicant Fagskolen Tinius Olsen, a college of higher vocational education in Norway. The project has been granted €387,731 through the European Union’s ERASMUS+ programme.  The three year project aims to develop an educational framework and a professional training program for mountain bike trail builders.

  • Fagskolen Tinius Olsen - Norway
  • International Mountain Bike Association Europe – Netherlands
  • Scottish Cyclists Union / DMBinS - Scotland
  • Edinburgh Napier University - Scotland
  • BikePlan - Switzerland
  • DGI Outdoor - Denmark
  • Município de Águeda - Portugal
  • Opplysningskontoret for Terrengsykling - Norway

Development stages of the project

  • Defining needs from stakeholders relating to planning construction and management of MTB trails
  • Develop and define the ‘Educational framework’ version 1.0
  • Develop content of the educational framework version 1.0
  • Train key personal at the partnering institution in the educational framework
  • Update the educational framework into version 2.0
  • Dissemination of project results

Midterm results / deliverables 

As part of the second work package, a MTB trail sector survey has been executed by Napier Edinburgh University to define the training needs of various stakeholders and identify possible skills & knowledge gaps. In total, 121 survey respondents (representing organisations that operate in the domain of trail planning, design, construction and management) from 16 different European countries provided data suitable for inclusion in this project. 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. The final report is now availabe as download

News updates 


How can our organization become involved or stay informed about the project?
If your organisation is based in one of the project countries (Norway, Denmark, Scotland, the Netherlands, Switzerland or Portugal), you can file a request to join the national referencegroup in the specific country. If your organisation is based in another EU country, then you should contact IMBA Europe (info@imba-europe.com) and join the EU reference group. Regular project updates will be shared on this page and through e-newsletters.
Why is continuous professional development in the MTB trail sector needed?
Mountain biking has seen a growth in many European countries. Not only at grassroots level as a' close to home', healthy and fun way of outdoor recreation but also as touristic offer in destinations and rural areas. Professional development in the trail building sector is needed to ensure this growth is sustanainable, that public resources are effectively deployed and to help mitigate against any environmental impact from the location and construction of trails. That 's why there is a need for training and guidance on trail planning, design, construction and maintenance  based on a quality insured body of knowledge.

What is meant by an 'Educational Framework'? 
The Educational Framework should be regarded as a ‘toolbox’ for educators within the domain of MTB trail development and management. The aim of the Educational Framework is to support the educational activities and decision making at each of the partnering institutions, addressing and minimising the gaps in skills and competences between industry needs and the educational capabilities. A trail building training resource (e.g. training modules, teaching materials) will be developed and made available online for other stakeholders outside the project to increase the number of people benefitting from the project. 

How will training programs be delivered in the different project countries? 
The implementation of the training program can differ per country. In Norway, Fagskolen Tinius Olsen (lead partner of the DIRTT project) will integrate the higher vocation education course MTB trail planning, construction and management in their existing program for construction and resort development. Other project partners are working on partnerships with VET providers in their own country.  

What will happen afther the DIRTT project?
The Educttional Framework will be will be periodically evaluated, revised and expanded after the project period of 36 monthsd. The delivered framework will need ongoing development. The DIRTT project will focus on the identified skill gaps in the sector and the development of appropriate training programs to bridge those gaps but will not be able to deliver all training courses and content all at once.