What is the CST Course?
At AVA we have been proud to run our CAD Specialist Training course for over 20 years. The course has traditionally been a way for graduates to get their foot in the door of the industry by providing AVA training and skills to designers looking for employment. As a rule AVA training can only ever really be obtained either by being provided by the employer or by approaching AVA directly. Over the years we have seen more and more job descriptions listing AVA skills as a bonus and so participating in our CAD Specialist Training courses helps to put graduates one step ahead when applying for job roles. Our courses have historically mainly been aimed at graduates, but over the past few years we have seen an increase in AVA customers using the course to train their team of designers and because the Level One course provides a good grounding in our main modules, it has proven to be a very successful formula.

In the Beginning
The CST courses have seen many changes over the years. The original CST course initially lasted nine weeks and was held at our offices in Macclesfield, Cheshire, but over the years with changing lifestyles it has become increasingly difficult for participants to dedicate nine weeks of time to attend the intense training, due to other life commitments.

To accommodate for the change in trend, we split the training into two levels, seeing Level One being condensed down to one week and Level Two to two weeks. To date, our most popular of the courses is Level One.

What does the course entail?
Level One covers all the bases that you might require to hit the ground running in a studio using AVA. It provides a comprehensive understanding of our most popular modules. The course is structured to follow a typical AVA design workflow, with one of our AVA Specialist trainers instructing and explaining the features as well as providing industry knowledge along the way. The focus is on repeating seamless designs, separating both flat and watercolour designs, creating colourways and mapping these onto photographs.

Level Two covers each module in more depth and contains more industry-specific tips and tricks but this course has taken a back seat for the time being due to the pandemic.

The 2020 Pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic meant that we had to halt face-to-face training altogether, including the AVA CST Course.  However, despite everything we found that designers were being proactive and wanted to use the time to gain new skills and add AVA to their skillset.  Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have had over 100 attendees on the course including graduates, freelance designers and existing customers who utilize the course to train their team in using AVA.

The Advantages
AVA CST Graduates not only receive first-class training but also benefit from a free three-month loan of the AVA software which includes 18 hours of Technical Support Monday to Friday, and an official certificate to present with their CV’s. We are really passionate about helping to bridge the gap between education and industry and to that end, we do our very best to help with recruitment wherever possible. This means CST graduates are promoted on our website and across our social media platforms, as well as being notified of any upcoming positions within the industry as we are often the first port of call when a company is on the lookout for fresh, new talent and if they can recruit a designer who can hit the ground running with AVA, all the better!

A Success Story
We are proud to say that 70% of AVA CST Graduates find employment after the course, with many often having secured a position before the end of the training. To read about some of our success stories please click here, or for more information on our upcoming courses click here.

The Future of AVA CST
Our CAD Specialist training courses will remain online for the foreseeable future due to the success of the e-CST. Feedback so far has been extremely positive. We have big plans for the future…watch this space for CST courses taking place in different time zones and different languages! We completed our first Russian course in April 2021, exciting times!