The 60 second interview

Posted on 2 Feb 2012

TM quizzes Don Carlson, EMEA education director at design and PLM software vendor Autodesk, on his organisation’s commitment to creating an inspiring future for industry.

Professional certification

In 2011 Autodesk launched a new professional accreditation scheme for design engineers. Richard Lane, senior manager, training and certification at Autodesk explains why.

TM: What are the benefits of professional certification of design software solutions?

RL: For many users, certification represents the next step in the life-long learning cycle that began at school or university. For them, the main benefit is the opportunity to demonstrate their expertise to existing or potential employers and clients. For employers, the process not only helps validate the skills and knowledge of its people, it also helps to accelerate their professional development and improve their productivity, ultimately resulting in enhanced competitive edge for the organisation itself.

TM: Summarise what your division of Autodesk does.

DC: By partnering with academic leaders, Autodesk’s education team helps educators build skills for successful careers in architecture, engineering and digital arts. By providing free software, an online learning community, sustainability workshops and an industry certification programme for professional design software, Autodesk aims to teach, support and assist students throughout their education and beyond. Offering a student expert programme enables Autodesk to assist around 280 students and faculties on campus and give them a chance to work closely with Autodesk and its partners. This gives them exposure to the latest technology and the opportunity to network with industry experts.


TM: How big is your Manufacturing Education community in the UK and Europe? What type of HE & FE organisations are members?

DC: Autodesk’s online education community has over three million members, of which one million are based in the EMEA region. The UK has the highest representation of any country in the region.Students from any HE or FE institution can be part of the community. They just need to apply and register to take part. Companies and institutions cannot sign up directly.


TM: Is there a 2011/2012 trend in the software? Are the drivers behind uptake of Autodesk’s Building information Management software and Product Design Suite, for instance, changing?

DC: The trend is towards a growing emphasis on workflow. This is leading to greater adoption of industry standards like Building Information Management. Increasingly educational institutions are looking to incorporate BIM into their curricula. As a result, Autodesk Revit becomes even more relevant and applicable as a learning tool. Autodesk’s Product Design Suite is also becoming more popular as institutions focus on end-to-end workflows and on designing and implementing educational programmes around this capability.

“Autodesk’s online education community has over three million members” – Don Carlson, EMEA education director, Autodesk.

TM: What sort of benefits do members get?

DC: Members of the student expert community get access to free software and to a range of partner and commercial organisations. This maximises their industry exposure and enhances their knowledge of the latest innovations.


TM: What is Autodesk Education UK’s ambition?

DC: Autodesk aims to create a solution that is relevant across the school, vocational and higher education space so there is a consistency in terms of the tools and programmes that are used across all levels. Autodesk Education is dedicated to improving this service and the software it offers as part of it.


TM: Is the software in the education programme really ‘free’? Or do you recoup costs in any way?

DC: The software is free to download for all students. The benefit for Autodesk is when students enter the job market, they are more likely both to purchase the software and influence the purchasing decisions of others.