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CAMPAIGN NEWS: Autodesk provides help for redundant professionals

While unemployment in the UK continues to rise, software and training company Autodesk has taken a long-term approach in appealing to this group directly.

Having recognized the impact of today's economic challenges and the need for unemployed architects, designers and engineers to maintain and develop their skills, it has launched the Autodesk Assistance Programme, which provides design software tools, education and resources to help professionals enhance their 3D design technology abilities.

Kevin Ison, EMEA industry marketing director at Autodesk explains: "We will come out of this situation. By offering our technology, individuals will be trained in our software and are more likely to suggest us to a new employer."

The firm is marketing the scheme primarily through a network of over 3,000 resellers worldwide. It was suggested to these partners that they place adverts in the local press, where individuals are likely to hunt for jobs. Autodesk also conducted some media outreach itself, via its PR agencies.

By offering free student software term licences, enabling participants to experience the latest product releases, online training and reduced cost formal training and certification, the benefits to brand perceptions are clear. "We do anticipate commercial gain, though not in the short term," adds Ison.

Although it is too early to release figures about the number of registrations for the programme, Ison says that the LinkedIn group, set up specifically for this project, grew rapidly. Having used blogs, twitter, Facebook and YouTube to promote the scheme, he says he "never ceases to be surprised" about what can be achieved on the internet. And, by conducting so much of the campaign online, it cost less than 1% of the overall marketing budget.

"As a technology company we do have some advantages as we operate licence agreements. But I don't see this type of campaign as sector-specific. Literally anything related to improving people's knowledge could e marketed in this way," he adds.

Available until the end of March 2010, the programme is open to anyone who has worked in architecture, engineering, design or manufacturing but is currently unemployed.