For many young people, becoming an architect seems like an impossible dream. Not because they lack the ability or aspiration, but because they may not have access to the same opportunities as everyone else or to the financial support they need.
The Building Futures programme was launched in 2015 in response to research published by the Creative Industries Federation which showed that less than 7% of registered architects are from BAME backgrounds. Despite widespread awareness of the challenges, in June 2019 the Royal Institute of British Architects published research showing that the number of architects from BAME backgrounds employed by the UK’s top 100 practices has actually fallen.
The barriers for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented groups range from lack of access to a professional network of support, to not having a ‘foot in the door’ to work experience placements, or nowhere to go for advice in how to further their aspirations. For many, it is simply the financial challenge of the seven-year journey to qualify.
Stephen Lawrence was never able to fulfil his dream of becoming an architect, but the Trust is committed to supporting young people from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds to enter the career he loved.