New Zealand students will benefit from a $27.5 million pledge to advance their skills in technology and science.

New Zealand secondary schools, vocational institutions and universities will soon be granted free access to software company Autodesk's professional 3D design software and creativity apps.

It is part of a pledge, estimated by the company to be worth A$25 million ($27.5 million), to promote careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics to students across Australia and New Zealand. It is expected to reach more than 3400 schools.

The company has also set up Design the Future, a programme to provide secondary school teachers with free training on how to use technology to engage pupils in the classroom.


"Today's students will shape tomorrow's industries. With free access to Autodesk software, schools can expose students to the technological advancements that are revolutionising the professional world -- from cloud and mobile technologies to 3D printing," said Brenton Wyett, manager of education programmes at Autodesk.

"This will help to equip and inspire the next generation of creative leaders and innovators in New Zealand."

Autodesk 3D design software, creativity apps and learning resources are already being used in many New Zealand and Australian schools to advance learning outcomes, he said.

Taupo-nui-a-Tia College, a secondary school in Taupo, has integrated software into its classrooms from Year 9 to 13 to encourage design thinking and hone their students' problem solving skills.

"In the junior school, the kids are asked to communicate a design idea. Software helps motivate students because they can visualise their designs in 3D and can make changes easily," said Rod Forrest, the teacher in charge of design and visual communication at Taupo College.

"In the senior school, the students go on to model their projects in the software."

Drawings produced by the students can be submitted to New Zealand Qualifications Authority as part of their end of year external assessment portfolio.

"Our experience is that including software into our curriculum has not only helped to lift engagement in the classroom, it has also helped to lift the students' grades," Mr Forrest said.


Autodesk is a US multinational software corporation which designs software for engineering, construction, manufacturing, media and entertainment industries.

* To request free access to Autodesk software for schools, visit here.