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Autodesk’s Design for Industry Competition: Meeting Industry Challenges with Software Tools

We spoke to Torie Anderson, senior manager, Strategic Partners and Initiatives, at Autodesk to learn more about this competition.

Digital Engineering: Please provide an overview of the Design for Industry competition?

Torie Anderson: In 2016, Autodesk launched Design for Industry to offer the next generation an opportunity to show off their design skills in thematic challenges, judged by industry professionals who are experts in fields related to the theme and soliciting designs that solve real-world challenges. The program helps participants better understand key skills and challenges faced by the industry and is supported through access to learning content and software resources to build proficiency with professional tools, including Autodesk Fusion 360.

One student entry: A microscope designed for dermatologists.

One student entry: A microscope designed for dermatologists.

Designs are then made public, which not only showcases the work of the next generation, but also allows companies to view designs while assessing candidate pools for potential projects, new hires or internships. Participants may vote for their favorite entries. The judges use these votes as the basis for picking finalists, and the winners (8 to 12 per competition) are decided by the industry partners that defined the challenge criteria. Once the winners are announced, the 1:1 mentoring sessions commence.

The competition is open to students who are 13 to 25 years old; participants must be enrolled at secondary or postsecondary educational institutions. Autodesk has received more than 15,000 entries from more than 100 countries, proving the next generation is motivated to design for industry.

DE: Can you elaborate on the designs that are part of the event and how they originated?

Anderson: To participate, submission of a render of a 3D model and a brief description of their design is required. Some participants choose to also submit annotated drawings, marketing materials or videos to support their designs in an effort to clearly convey their design intent. Entries for each Design for Industry challenge are publicly viewable on the Design for Industry gallery. Winners receive mentoring sessions with the judges where they can receive feedback on their design and mentoring in support of their career aspirations.

DE: Anything else you can add about the event?

Anderson: To encourage the next generation to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, we must reframe what careers in these areas really look like. Today’s current education system often positions the manufacturing industry as 19th and 20th century notions of the industrial age, the welding and metalworking field of the past, not the smart, connected product manufacturing, advanced material development and digital design integration we’re seeing in today’s field.

It’s imperative to connect the next generation with the industry to help shape their perception of engineering and manufacturing and train them with the skills needed in the workplace of the future. From challenges that directly connect the next generation with industry leaders as mentors and judges, to working directly with local universities and companies to help create solutions in support of today’s global challenges, Autodesk aims to inspire and empower the next generation to imagine, design and make a better world.

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About Jim Romeo

Jim Romeo is a freelance writer based in Chesapeake, VA. Send e-mail about this article to DE-Editors@digitaleng.news.