Free design software for educational institutions

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Autodesk is making its technology and resources available to education institutions in SA, Kenya and Nigeria.

The software is accessible via an online portal where tertiary institutions can download educational versions of the brand's design software, free of charge, for use in their classrooms or computer labs.

The move forms part of the software maker's Academic Resource Centre (ARC) programme, which Lisa Taylor, MD of Educad, Autodesk's Education Partner, believes allows students to expand their expertise and knowledge without having to fork out large amounts of money for specialised software.

"The Autodesk Academic Resource Centre is specially established to improve students' skills and digital design literacy levels, inspiring future generations of design leaders to drive design innovation," says Taylor. In addition, through this online community, students can download learning resources, search for internships and jobs, discuss design topics with peers, and showcase their designs, she continues.

"This scalable initiative enables us to provide thousands of schools in SA, Kenya and Nigeria with access to the latest Autodesk software and training," says Taylor, mentioning that, over the next decade, up to 30 million students will have access to the tools used by design professionals around the world.

According to Taylor, education is a high priority for Autodesk, and the expansion affirms the brand's commitment to education and ensuring maximum access to its technology.

"An increasingly competitive world demands the talents of the world's best and brightest, and Autodesk is more committed than ever to inspire and prepare the designers of the future," she notes. "In order to compete in a global market and be job ready, students need to be fluent in the technologies used by professionals and must be able to collaborate across different disciplines, time zones and cultures."

There are plans for further expansion across Africa, says Taylor, pointing out that the aim of the initiative is to allow every educational institution across Africa to access the very same technology being used in commercial industry. "More than 350 educational departments have already benefited from this great offer and we hope to double this number by early next year."

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