In 2009, University Technical Colleges (UTCs) were established in the United Kingdom as STEM-focused, government-funded institutions advocating for a new approach to education. Their mission? To help students move beyond linearity into a more dynamic, do-it-yourself learning environment that focuses on the application (versus the theory) of skills.
UTCs embrace active, experiential learning as a way for students to gain technical skills and develop creative, independent minds. The Baker Dearing Trust, the organization behind UTCs, states “While knowledge is as necessary as ever, it is no longer enough. Abstract knowledge and reasoning need to be linked to the ‘real world’ through practical applications.”
From the beginning, there has been a natural affinity between Autodesk and the Baker Dearing Trust, sharing a similar mission to prioritize teaching relevant skills to help students succeed in industry. Of the 47 UTCs in the UK, 37 focus on helping students prepare for future engineering careers; to support these goals, Autodesk and UTCs across the UK have teamed up to reinvent engineering education.
Beyond offering professional-level engineering software at no cost, Autodesk subject-matter experts work with individual UTCs to build out learning content that aligns with their forward-thinking curriculum. UTCs also leverage Autodesk Fusion 360 – a cloud-based, collaborative platform to help students learn the end-to-end engineering process in one ecosystem.
“Autodesk gave our students the education they need not just for now but for the future,” says David Court, director of engineering at UTC Reading. “More importantly, it also gives our students the education that industry demands from them.” In addition, UTCs partner with local small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) and corporations to imbue industry trends and knowledge into the curriculum. Students effectively simulate an industry environment in the classroom by working on professional-level projects in professional-level software.