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Quality and innovation in vocational training for Enterprise Cultural Heritage management
Start date: Nov 1, 2009,

Enterprise Cultural Heritage (ECH) is a complex combination of a company’s own history and creations (technical contents, industrial design, organization, marketing, etc.) with the potential to transform information and materials into “extended products” (Chrissolouris-Mavrikiros, 2006). Effective ECH management can increase creativity in production and innovate knowledge management skills, boosting the productivity performances of those SMEs with a long and rich history. Nevertheless, the majority of such SMEs find it difficult to identify and exploit the economic added value of their cultural heritage. However, to date this area has received only little attention in the field of SME training & support. This is despite the fact that there are large numbers of SMEs that could grow on the basis of their ECH. More specifically, in Italy, there are more than 11,000 SMEs that are more than 40 years old (Enterprises Registry Dataset), 6% of SMEs in the UK also fall in this group (Federation of Small Businesses, 2006), whilst in Greece there are 6,140 enterprises (ICAP, 2008). The number of such firms will be smaller in post-socialist regimes (such as the Czech Republic) however, there are similar opportunities for privatized firms as well as new SMEs that tap into the ECH of the socialist or even pre-socialist era The development of new competencies and skills and a more effective use of ECH will enhance the employability of individual workers and the competitiveness of SMEs. The project will target SMEs (using the EU definition) that have been operating for 40 years or more in the craft sector. This is defined in the EU SME Observatory as artisan production in food, textiles, ceramics & jewellery industries. The choice of the craft sector is on account of the importance of cultural heritage (e.g. local products, traditional design etc) as a source of competitive advantage. These firms will be collectively referred to as 'established SMEs in craft sectors'. The main project outcomes include: a) a clear understanding of the training needs of SMEs in the area of ECH management; b) the development of a methodology to introduce ECH Management in SMEs; c) a training package to support the methodology, organised in learning objects and deployed onto a suitable open source e-learning platform; d) guidelines for the validation of non formal learning on ECH management; e) 15 test cases with SMEs to validate the project results. The project is targeting top managers and technical/commercial personnel of established SMEs in craft sectors. Overall, it is expected to reach directly around 100 SME staff and a wider audience through the dissemination activities. To sustain the results after its completion, the project intends to launch an open “web community” on ECH management based on a “copyleft” license to use the material. This fits well with the comprehensive dissemination strategy adopted for the purposes of the project. Partners are located in different geographical and cultural contexts (CZ, GR, FI, IT, UK) with a well balanced composition.
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