Officialy named CAPS-MTB (Creating a Professional European Standard in MTB Instructor-Guiding) the aim of this project is to create an European-wide qualification of ‘Mountain Bike Instructor-Guide’ with a clearly defined job description, qualification level and quality assurance process across Europe.
Who is involved?
13 European countries are currently involved in the project, either through their national federations or their principal mountain bike groups. IMBA Europe is also involved, working to coordinate these members.
What are the benefits?
To countries with existing MTB Instructor-Guide programs, the benefits include:
- creation of a bike industry work sector with a basic potential turnover, based on the existing French model, of €330 million/year across Europe.
- improved professional recognition for guide-instructors.
- improved branding of the job-role.
- massively improved domestic professional opportunities for guide-instructors, within both education, recreation and tourism.
- quality assurance across Europe.
- mobility for guide-instructors across Europe.
- potential ‘outsourcing’ of some training modules (e.g. high altitude) to other countries.
To countries without training programs, additional benefits include:
- a ‘ready-made’ training system to ensure high professional standards from the start.
- an accelerated progression to economic development through mountain biking.
A working example:
The French have used their national qualification (the BPJEPS), alongside a professional body (the MCF) to create a domestic industry which employs 800 instructor-guides and has an annual turnover of €30 million, working with schools, clubs, recreational bikers and tourists. Expanded to a European scale, this figure would be €330 million. The potential is there to go much farther, with mountain bike guide-instructors working in every village, town, city, MTB centre, bike park and school, just as with sports like tennis, golf and football.
Creating a truly European standard is the key first step on the road towards this professionalised future for mountain biking.
How will the project progress?
Working groups are already carrying out the project work. As soon as the standard has been set each existing system will be benchmarked against it. Any additional training required can then be added before we begin qualifying instructor-guides for their EO-MTBInG licenses. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2018-2019.
What investment of time/money is required from member states/organisations?
Travelling: The entire project group will meet once a year to discuss progress so far and to plan future work. This meeting will usually be timed to coincide with the IMBA Europe spring conference in order to minimise extra travelling.
Work: The project work will be carried out by smaller working groups of 3-4 members, who will meet or video-conference every 1-2 months and continue working between these meetings. It is likely that 1-2 hours per week will be required from each member of each working group.
Funding: Aside from the need to travel and the time commitment from anyone who joins a working group (this is not obligatory) the financial commitments depend on whether your organisation wishes to participate as a key partner (one main organisation per country) or simply a supporting member (open to federations, training schemes, unions and non-profit mountain biking organisations).
Key Partners will form the core of the project. Participating in the various work groups, key stakeholders will actively contribute to determine the very structure of the project. A €2000 investment fee will be required from key partners.
Supporting Members will perform a more passive role. Attending the annual conference to discuss the direction of the project and fully benefitting from the project upon completion. A €200 investment fee is all that supporting members need to contribute.
Where do we go from here?
If your Federation/Group wish to formally join the project, all that is required is an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) to confirm this, stating whether you wish to participate as a key partner or a supporting member. We will then continue the dialogue from there. Come and help shape the future of professional mountain bike instruction and guiding!
The CAPS-MTB is co-funded by the Erasmus + Programme of the European Union