SHARPEN stands for 'SMEs HRM Attraction, Retention and Performance Enhancement Network'. This is a 3-year project starting 1st September 2016 to the 31st August 2019 funded by the Erasmus Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education projects. The project consists of 5 partner institutions, namely Kajaani University of Applied Sciences (KAMK) Finland, Technical University Liberec (TUL) Czech Republic, Zwickau Westachsische-Hochschule (ZUAS) Germany, The University of Huddersfield (UoH) the United Kingdom and Socialiniu Mokslu Kolegija Klaipeda (SMK) Lithuania.
Many SMEs in the home region of the institutions are facing similar challenges about human resource management (HRM) issues. Thus, the primary objectives of this project is to leverage on the people management knowledge, experiences and competencies of all the partner universities to develop a specialization course using technology, innovative delivery methods, and creative resourcing through unique, interactive learning activities. Also, the project supports the attunement of curricula to the current and emerging labor market needs in the partner regions through research collaboration with a handful of key business organizations such as the Chambers of Commerce, Entrepreneurs Association, and local SMEs. The project also aims to increase the digital proficiencies, cultural and language competencies of the partner institutions, both staff and students to better fit in today's globalized and digitalized economy. The partners will join forces to develop an e-learning module which is divided into three phases.