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New Scheme Enables Children To Design The Future

Senior figures from schools, business and higher education, will gather at Warwick Manufacturing Group, at the University of Warwick, on Monday 14 June to launch a scheme to equip schoolchildren to be the design engineers of the future. This initiative will allow pupils to convert virtual reality computer aided design into the reality of a finished product. The Schools CAD/CAM initiative pilot – to be launched by Charles Clarke MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary at the DFEE – is a scheme devised by the Warwick Manufacturing Group, in conjunction with the Parametric Technology Corporation to provide pupils in schools across the country with the high quality software necessary for the development of computer aided design skills. Professor Kumar Bhattacharryya, Director of the Warwick Manufacturing Group, said:

"We are delighted to welcome to Warwick representatives of schools, higher education, industry and government to launch this important initiative. The need to improve the computer aided design skills of school pupils has long been recognised. Without providing pupils with access to the latest high quality IT tools, we will not be able to unleash the full design potential of our young people as we enter the new millennium.

"The programme has come about thanks to a most generous offer from one of our key partners, the Parametric Technology Corporation, to provide their Pro-Desktop Design Software to UK schools. This is very high quality software & with licenses, the value of supplying just one set to every UK school is worth some $22 million."

Peter Rayson Senior Vice President of Industry Marketing for PTC, said:

"We are delighted to be able to deliver this kind of initiative into U.K. schools. We know that out there in today’s classrooms are the great future British designers who can follow in the footsteps of Whittle and Dyson. What this scheme does is to enable them to articulate their design ideas and we hope that some of those children are motivated to progress to become eminent in industrial design."

Of course offering a box of software alone will not provide our young people with the learning experience they need to give them the computer aided design literacy for the future. That is why we are delighted that the Department of Education and Employment (DFEE) has asked the Design and Technology Association (DATA, the Association of school Design and Technology professionals) to draw up a managed programme to ensure the software is properly used in schools.

Andy Breckon, Chief Executive of DATA said:

"This is an excellent opportunity to modernise the school curriculum, provide resources that will motivate young people, raise the UK’s skill base in a key area of need for the British economy whilst promoting good relations between schools and industry."

Fifty schools from across the country have been chosen to pilot this programme and they will be joined by representatives from the software industry and the machine tools sector to learn about how the programme is to be managed. Representatives of major UK CAD/CAM users like British Aerospace, Rolls Royce and GEC will also be on hand to underline the importance of this technology for UK industry.

For further details contact:
Nick Matthews, Warwick Manufacturing Group  01203 572506
Peter Dunn Press Officer  01203 523708

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CWN / Education / University of Warwick / Press Release / 09 Jun 99

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