Autodesk has announced a new initiative for the education sector in Australia and New Zealand to help remove barriers in software access for students.

Autodesk will now offer secondary schools, vocational institutions and universities in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) free access to the company’s professional 3D design software and creativity apps.

Additionally, Autodesk’s Design the Future program provides secondary school teachers with free software training, and project-based curricula that integrates software and apps into standard lesson plans.

Valued at over $25 million AUD, Autodesk’s pledge is expected to help educators at more than 3,400 schools across ANZ teach critical problem-solving skills and prepare students for careers in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) fields.

Autodesk’s program will allow secondary schools to more easily offer a multi-disciplinary approach to education while Universities can immerse students in a broad range of leading 3D design tools and workflows that are used across diverse professional industries.

Brenton Wyett, manager of Education programs at Autodesk explains that free access to Autodesk software will enable schools to expose students to the technological advancements that are revolutionising the professional world from cloud and mobile technologies to 3D printing, helping to equip the next generation of creative leaders and innovators in Australia.

Autodesk 3D design software, creativity apps and learning resources are already being used in many ANZ schools to advance learning outcomes. Melbourne secondary school, The King David School has incorporated Autodesk tools into classwork, and also uses the software to support its FIRST Robotics and CanSat programs, which have inspired an increasing number of students to consider a career in engineering.

Newcastle-based Merewether High School also uses the software to support their participation in the international F1 in Schools design competition.

University of Technology Sydney uses Autodesk software as the platform for its Digital Design and Construction stream in their Bachelor of Construction Project Management program. Heather MacDonald, associate professor & head of the School of Built Environment, Faculty of Design Architecture and Building, University of Technology Sydney notes that students are not only able to work through traditional applications of the software such as scheduling and clash detection, but can also render their designs as immersive, photorealistic 3D environments allowing for more detailed critique, and enhancing learning.

MacDonald observes that the Autodesk program has also transformed the way cost management and construction technologies are taught, enabling students to think seamlessly in three, four, and five dimensions. She added that Autodesk’s commitment to offering free educational software access will ensure that University of Technology Sydney is able to continue delivering skills at the leading edge of the Australian construction industry.