The National Centre for Contact with Working Life for the Promotion of the Natural Sciences and Technology (RENATE) in Norway, which was founded by that nation’s Ministry of Education and Research, has committed to purchase up to 30,000 licenses of SolidWorks® Education Edition software to teach engineering fundamentals to more than 60,000 junior high school and high school students and thus reinvigorate Norway’s manufacturing industry. RENATE relies on ProNor, a local reseller authorized by SolidWorks Corp., for ongoing software training, implementation, and support.

Starting in Fall 2006, some 1,300 schools across Norway will begin to teach 3D computer-aided design (CAD) to students aged 14 to 18. The strong math and science focus of the programme will integrate lessons in 3D mechanical design skills to help the students cultivate an interest in possible design and engineering careers at an early age. This fall, RENATE will begin a staff development programme for teachers at each of the participating schools on how to use and teach SolidWorks.

RENATE’s mission is to strengthen education in mathematics, natural sciences, and technology throughout the country. Its Technology and Design programme seeks to attract students to engineering careers and bolster the skilled engineering profession, which has been languishing.

“The number of students that have abandoned bachelor’s degrees in engineering has increased in the past 10 years because students have complained about the curriculum being dull,” said RENATE centre director Odd Lauritzen.

After evaluating several CAD packages, RENATE chose SolidWorks partly because its short learning curve allows high school students to quickly understand product design principles so they can begin honing their 3D skills in just a few days. “Rather than being frustrated by trying to learn difficult software, they’ll be quickly rewarded with beautiful 3D models that they can visualize, modify, and perfect,” noted Lauritzen.

RENATE chose SolidWorks also because it is the preferred design tool in many manufacturing facilities throughout Norway and the Nordic region.

Calling the Technology and Design programme a far-reaching initiative with a bold mission, Michel Gros, SolidWorks executive vice president for Europe, said, “We applaud Norway’s decision to take this proactive step to realign its science, math, engineering, and technology disciplines at the secondary school level. This commitment to modern teaching and learning will have an enduring impact on Norway’s economic future.”