Over the course of July, members of our Equality, Diversity, Inclusion & Community (EDIC) team have been collaborating with a number of local schools to offer workshops, work experience and mentoring to a range of secondary school students. This annual month of engagement with schools forms part of our ongoing practice commitment to social values, with an emphasis on improving the diversity of the profession, and to help people from underrepresented backgrounds find pathways into architecture. This is something we recognise as being a significant issue within our profession, but an issue that we hope to be able to help to influence.
This year we have welcomed four work experience students, who were each allocated a mentor, and given a mini design project for the week, culminating in a presentation back to members of the practice. The process aimed to provide an understanding of how to refine a brief, represent ideas, to give them the opportunity to reflect on the social and cultural impact of their design, and to gain a better understanding of what a career in architecture may involve.
In addition, Laura Barnes and Josh Wilcox, who head up our EDIC team, have been giving a series of ‘presentations to students at a local school, St Mary Magdalene Academy in Angel, to provide them with a background to Architecture and the Architectural Profession. We outlined prospective routes into architecture, what a career in architecture might entail and other applications of the subject in the wider world such as art, film, fashion, gaming, model making, theatre, technology and visualisation.
By working with the nearby schools, we hope to engage students on what architecture can mean and how this career can be truly accessible to all.