SOLIDWORKS goes back to school

Right now, students are going to classes and preparing to one day take up a job that doesn't currently exist. If this sounds shocking, it shouldn't. Amazing advances in technology are occurring on almost a weekly basis; after all, Moore's law postulates that computing power doubles every two years. Preparing current students to take up this mantle requires giving them the right skills and tools, like 3D design software.

The virtual space within such platforms is the new laboratory, the new drawing board, where innovative minds can create, experiment, rework and explore the ideas that will come to build the future. Enabling that requires going back to the start and building up the abilities required for using these tools at an early age.

Investing in this future is one of the main drivers behind SOLIDWORKS Education Edition, and the exciting new features coming with SOLIDWORKS 2017. Let's take a closer look at the role 3D CAD is playing in education and the jobs of the future.

It starts with STEM

On the frontier of innovation, professionals in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are pushing the envelope every day, leveraging the skills that they fostered throughout their education.

Emphasising STEM fields early on in education is key for preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow.Emphasising STEM fields early on in education is key for preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow.

All around the world, students on the verge of entering the professional field are striving to build up these abilities as well. According to the Institute of International Education's 2015 Open Doors survey, 44 per cent of international students studying abroad at universities in the United States are focusing on STEM fields. Of these, 20 per cent are enrolled in engineering courses while 12 per cent are studying mathematics and computer science – the rest are focusing on life sciences, health and agriculture.

The expected job growth in these sectors is a key driver behind these trends. A report from the European Union Parliament, Encouraging STEM Skills for the Labour Market, notes that Europe will see 7 million projected job openings in STEM by 2025. Europe is not the only hotbed of such activity; jobs in these fields are surging internationally as different regions look to take advantage of the benefits that come with an expanded STEM market.

STEM in Asia-Pacific

By converting just 1 per cent of the labour force to STEM positions, Australia could add over $57 billion to its GDP.

Our corner of the globe is no exception to this growth. Traditional STEM fields have long been growing in popularity and prominence throughout Asia-Pacific. According to the Thomson Reuters Global Research Report, countries in the region have been undergoing a substantial, long-term increase in scientific research output. The number of studies rose from 13 per cent in 1981 to 31 per cent by 2009 – a stronger increase than in Europe and the United States.

This surge in research represents a real value for the countries producing it, as STEM growth presents significant benefits for local economies. As noted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Australia could potentially add over $57 billion to its GDP by converting just 1 per cent of the labour force to STEM positions.

Achieving this conversion throughout the region can only happen with an increased focus on STEM in early education. Christine Wright, managing director of Hays in Asia, notes the importance of increasing the presence of STEM in schools.

"If children were made aware of STEM careers and STEM related learning experiences were implemented earlier, it could inspire an interest in those subjects and ultimately, careers," she said.

"Not only do children need to be educated on what jobs can result from STEM subjects, parents do too. Engineering is such a broad term. Children, parents and teachers should be told about the various aspects and job types so that there's a coordinated response to the STEM skill shortage."

SOLIDWORKS and STEM education

Providing this introduction to STEM skills at an early age is a key priority for SOLIDWORKS. With SOLIDWORKS Education Edition, students and teachers have access to the same 3D design software that professionals use. By introducing young minds to the tools of the trade from an early age, they will be able to cultivate that interest as they move through their educational careers.

"We want to stimulate bright ideas and creativity by providing students with the same easy-to-use design tools used by professional engineers."

SOLIDWORKS has proven itself as a capable asset in school curricula around the world. In fact, early in 2015, Dassault Systemes passed a major benchmark – reaching 2 million educational licenses for SOLIDWORKS.

"In education, we want to stimulate bright ideas and creativity by providing students with the same easy-to-use design tools used by professional engineers," said SOLIDWORKS CEO Gian Paolo Bassi.

"SOLIDWORKS applications help students complete challenging projects like fully functional robots or solar-powered race cars and, in the process, learn lasting skills for their future professional life."

With a suite of 2D and 3D CAD applications, SOLIDWORKS Education Edition is helping to further drive students' aspirations with STEM. This is expanded with the newest features in SOLIDWORKS 2017.

To learn more about how SOLIDWORKS is making a difference in Asia-Pacific schools, be sure to check out our Education Blog, or get in touch with us today.