NICHE Project

Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) is the practice, representation, expression, knowledge/skills considered by UNESCO to be part of a place’s cultural heritage; it comprises nonphysical intellectual property, such as folklore, customs, beliefs, traditions, knowledge and language. EU official papers confirm that Intangible Cultural Heritage is crucially important for socio-economic development.

EU official papers confirm that Intangible Cultural Heritage is crucially important for socio-economic development:

  • Council of EU “Conclusions on Cultural Heritage as a Strategic Resource for a Sustainable EU”
  • EU Commission “Towards an Integrated Approach to Cultural Heritage for EU”
  • EU Commission “Getting Cultural Heritage to Work for EU”

ICH is more important for the EU economy than the entire automotive sector: over 300,000 people work in the EU cultural heritage sector. Almost 8 million jobs in the EU are indirectly linked to heritage (tourism, interpretation, security). For each direct job, the heritage sector produces 26.7 indirect jobs. This compares with 6.3 indirect jobs created for each direct job in the car industry.

Notwithstanding this great potential, ICH is seldom capitalised as a topic for training to empower professionals to develop ICH-related economic opportunities, as old professions are evolving and new professions are developing.

The EU identifies specific challenges and needs in its report “Skills, Training & Knowledge Transfer for Traditional and Emerging Heritage Professions” (Oct 2017):

  • It is necessary to identify and map professions; demonstrate their position in the European Qualification Framework.
  • The “traditional” sectoral skills need to be updated. Training of cultural heritage managers is not well understood or prioritised: “management” is instead a priority.
  • Successful ICH management across EU is vulnerable to variations in standards, practice, inconsistent career guidance and support.
  • Training should be broader, go beyond “traditional” competences and skills involved in cultural heritage professions. New subjects need to receive increased attention:
    • transferable skills (management, communication, fundraising, sustainability)
    • ethics
    • new forms of heritage, such as digital heritage
    • transferable approach and multidisciplinary work.



NICHE Objective

OBJECTIVE of NICHE (Nurturing Intangible Cultural Heritage for Entrepreneurship) is to enhance entrepreneurship in the ICH sector by developing innovative training for the underserved cohort of professionals (and prospective ones) who operate in ICH to promote entrepreneurial initiatives in the sector, enhance its competitiveness and sustain its growth.

The objective is to develop professional profiles of ICH operator to leverage ICH, widen and create economic activities through increased entrepreneurship.

NICHE is fully aligned with the Priorities of Erasmus+, specifically:

  • VET Priority #5: strengthen key competences in initial and continuing VET.
  • HORIZONTAL Priority #9: Socio-educational value of EU cultural heritage, its contribution to job creation, economic growth and social cohesion.
  • VET Priority #4: Enhance access to training and qualifications for all.