Business and IT training courses from QA

Tour de France 2014

When the largest cycle race in the world came to the UK, one of the event's partners, TdF Hub 2014, selected QA to help design and deliver a huge training rollout to prepare thousands of volunteers for the event.

The Challenge

The Tour de France 2014 will begin in the UK, with the first three stages taking the race from Leeds to London. TdF Hub 2014 is a partner of the Tour de France, responsible for coordinating the UK leg of the race in liaison with local authorities along the route. With 12 million spectators anticipated along the entire route and an expected television audience of 3.5 billion, it is of paramount importance that TdF Hub 2014 ensures the event sets off on track.

This year's race is the first to include Tour Makers along the route. This team of 10,000 volunteers will be the face of the UK stretch of the race, providing information and advice to spectators, such as event timings and information regarding local amenities. With 10,000 volunteers to prepare for the approaching event, TdF Hub 2014 needed the help of an experienced training organisation.

As the Grand Départ is taking place in Leeds, many members of TdF Hub 2014 are employees of Leeds City Council. The Council had recently collaborated with learning partner, QA, on a large scale management development programme which trained over 2,500 of the Council's managers in just 3 weeks. So, they were confident that QA could cope with the logistics of preparing the large population of Tour Makers ahead of the Grand Départ.

Training was always a key element to build into the programme from the beginning. It was really an engagement event for volunteers, providing common service levels and role specific training.

Ciara O’Grady

Event and Training Manager | TdF Hub 2014

The Solution

An initial meeting was held between TdF Hub 2014 and QA, during which TdF Hub 2014 explained its requirements. Along with the general information required by all of the Tour Makers, some information was only relevant to specific posts, such as Flag Marshals, Route Marshals and Crossing Marshals.

To organise this complex content into an accessible learning event, the content was handed to an experienced QA Learning Associate who helped structure it into an engaging and manageable session.

As volunteers, the audience had each given up their personal time to support the event. With this in mind, the learning had to be engaging and enjoyable as well as imparting the important information. So, a key focus for the Learning Associate was to take the factual and detailed subject matter provided by stakeholders, and transform it into an interesting and accessible experience for volunteers. As well as an upbeat delivery style, the event provided opportunities for discussion and one-to-one engagement, helping to build camaraderie among the Tour Makers.

The resulting event was structured to incorporate a general introduction session, after which the group split into different rooms for role specific training. The introductory session gave all Tour Makers a common understanding of the event schedule, procedures and required service levels. For example, the order of the convoy, a reminder of customer service principles, and details of safety and escalation procedures. Following the role specific sessions, Tour Makers collected their uniforms.

With the separate break-out sessions for different roles, the event required multiple facilitators who were both knowledgeable about the event and capable of managing a large training audience. To achieve this, QA provided train-the-trainer events so these elements could be run by staff associated with the event. It was essential that the content was accurate and complete, so throughout the development of the course, the content was tweaked and adjusted based on further feedback from a range of stakeholders, including local authorities and teams responsible for different aspects of the event.

QA helped TdF Hub 2014 to design the event handouts. Originally, a different booklet was planned for each post. However, to simplify the distribution of the materials, the Learning Associate suggested compiling all of the information into one booklet, using tabs to identify general information and role specific content. Proofing and design support was provided by QA to meet the production time frames.

With the race day fast approaching and 10,000 individuals to train, it was important that the QA team could keep pace with the event preparation and react to any changes or additional information. To accommodate this context, the QA team organised flexible hours, working evenings and early mornings to ensure a quality learning rollout was delivered to support the success of the event.

With the volume of 10,000 volunteers, it was quite a complex training programme overall. QA's role was to take the subject matter from our experts and find the best way to get it across to the public. Their key contribution was making the information engaging and appropriate for all adult styles. All of the feedback we got about the training was positive.

Ciara O’Grady

Event and Training Manager | TdF Hub 2014

The Outcome

The learning event was successfully delivered 18 times over the course of five weeks, with AM and PM deliveries on nine separate days. The audience size reached up to 800 Tour Makers per event.

Feedback from the Tour Makers has been very positive, with enthusiastic thanks received by the Learning Associate and facilitators at the end of the events. This was reflected in attendee feedback forms, with ratings of good to excellent.

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