Irish schools to benefit from €133.5m software grant


12 Jul 2005

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A Clare-based company has received the largest educational software donation of its kind anywhere in the world. Technology giant UGS PLM has granted some €133.5m to Ennis-based Cadtec to roll out educational software across 750 secondary schools in Ireland.

The software, called Solid Edge, will be provided free to secondary schools in Ireland that have the technology to run the program. It will enable the students to use computer- aided design in a wide range of subjects, particularly technical subjects.

Cadtec was set up in 1995 by brothers Nigel and Jonathan Mangan with feasibility study support from Shannon Development. The company has grown to employ 100 people in Ennis, the UK, US and Singapore.

Jonathan Mangan, managing director, Cadtec Europe, who pitched for the grant and whose company will fund the rollout and introductory training of the software to schools throughout Ireland, said: “Computer aided design (CAD) is such an intrinsic part of business today, be it in designing cars, home appliances, orthopaedic or medical products, that it is imperative we introduce young people to its use and capability at the earliest stage in their educational life.

“So many young adults don’t get the opportunity to see this level of technology unless they go on to third-level education, but if they are introduced to advanced technologies such as CAD at secondary level, they may stay in education longer or choose an alternative route to their chosen career. The technology available in Irish schools is behind that in the UK and Northern Ireland. That is why we made a pitch to UGS to acquire this grant.

“Every year, the large software companies provide academic opportunities through a grant system and we thought – why not Ireland. I am delighted that our pitch made an impact and that we are now in a position to make the technology available to as many of the 750 secondary schools in Ireland as possible,” Mangan explained.

So far, over 200 schools, from Ennis to Bundoran to Moate have signed up. Each school that signs up receives 30 free fully functional licences of Solid Edge V17 Parametric CAD software; five free teacher ‘home-use’ licences which can be used by teaching staff; a free training session from Cadtec, introducing the package and its installation, and a free Solid Edge tutorial system. They are also automatically entered into a draw for a free Dell laptop, pre-installed with Solid Edge V17. Any school wishing to acquire a software grant and its associated training should apply directly by logging on to www.cadteceurope.com and complete the on-line registration form.

Headquartered in Plano, Texas, UGS is a leading global provider of product lifecycle management (PLM) software and services with nearly four million licensed seats and 46,000 customers worldwide. Colin Johnson, international business manager, UGS, said: “Since its inception UGS has supported educational development right across the globe; we serve over 807,000 students every year and consider every school, no matter how small a partner. We were very impressed with Cadtec’s vision for education in Ireland as well as their rollout strategy and are very pleased to support the project through the Solid Edge grant.

“The software which we distribute through this program is not a toy; it’s not an educational or stripped down version; it’s the real product used by global companies such as GM, Ford, NASA and Boeing to produce their vast and sophisticated product ranges.

“With the academic partnership, program users get the same software, upgrades and customer support that UGS’ commercial customers receive. This gives young adults the opportunity to learn valuable skills that they can take to industry when they graduate,” said Johnson.

Cadtec will train teachers to use the software. Training will take place in various locations throughout Ireland commencing in Cadtec’s headquarters in the Information Age Park Ennis.

By John Kennedy