CAD Controversy

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  • Letter to the Editor: Scottish-born CAD professional shares his views on the shortage of CAD users.

    Dear Editor,

    I am a product of the industrial base that was Glasgow, Scotland. I served my time in John Brown’s Shipyard as a draftsman. At the end of the school term, the gates would open and the shipyard and engineering works would open their gates and suck us all in. In retrospect, it could be viewed as child labor, but it provided thousands with a solid training and trade to be proud of. It never did any of us harm and did build character.

    For the next four years, we would be exposed to every aspect of the industry while simultaneously attending college on a part-time basis where we could learn additional theories — like math, science and technology — to add to the practical training we were receiving.

    Today the situation is a bit different. We do not have the concentrated industrial bases that were prevalent in the UK when I was trained and therefore a different approach towards training must be found.

    In order to draw young bright minds into engineering and specifically the CAD profession, we must go into the schools and demonstrate what we do. I visit the local technical college and give presentations to the civil engineering group. I intend to do the same at the local high schools and show the kids that there is an alternative to either sticking your hand down a toilet or going to university. I am convinced that most kids are not aware of what we do. As an example, last year I was the coach of our local under-18 boys’ soccer team. Not one of them had any insight into the type of work I was involved with, but when I showed them prints of 3D models that I had done, their interest perked.

    In order to fill the void, we should be bringing in more young people from community colleges and providing them with a solid training program (as we do at my company, HATCH LTD), while also going to the high schools and doing presentations. If we all did this, we could fill the gap. But it won’t happen overnight. Remember, today’s kids like computers and they like to play games, so show them your best animations in the real world and they might just take an interest.

    Charles McGowan Designer’s Lead
    Mississauga, Canada

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