In introducing IT, large disparities have emerged between large companies and SMEs as well as between urban and regional areas. This so-called “digital divide” is widening. As part of its human resources development program, IPA is supporting computerization at SMEs, developing IT human resources in regional areas and implementing various other policies for ensuring that these enterprises and regions do not lag behind in computerization.
Even when SMEs are keen to utilize IT, there are numerous instances in which these companies are unable to make IT investments owing to factors related to their financial resources and personnel. In response to the needs of these enterprises, IPA provides training and undertakes support activities, centering on the IT Management Support Team.
The IT Management Support Team (http://www.itouentai.jp/) is a government-private sector partnership network established to encourage SMEs to voluntarily implement IT management to reform business management and improve productivity. To attain these objectives, the IT Management Support Team assists local SMEs by providing training, collecting and disseminating best practices and supporting collaboration with local communities.
The software industry requires little initial upfront investment for facilities, and accordingly, is expected to play an important part in local economic promotion policies. IPA is also focusing on developing human resources and is investing in 15 local software centers across Japan as part of efforts to contribute to the vitalization of local communities. In addition, we work with local SMEs to develop IT development policies suited to the relevant region by providing teaching aids, guidance and advice for training IT staff. Besides these centers, which engage in IT human resources development activities, we collaborate with 33 new enterprise support organizations as we implement measures to enhance regional IT human resources development programs.
Since 2001, IPA began offering educational-use images free of charge only in Japan if used for educational purposes at homes or in schools via the Training Image Gallery website (http://www2.edu.ipa.go.jp/gz/).
The site offers approximately 17,000 images and includes still images, video and CG animations in 54 categories.