Business Charity Award winners: urban for their #BeMoreInclusive campaign!

Our #BeMoreInclusive initiative has received the Business Charity Award for the Charity Partnership in the Professional Services section, for an outstanding partnership between a company in the professional services sector and a UK Charity.

As a Business Charity Award winner, the #BeMoreInclusive initiative has been recognised for its inspiring work within the architecture industry. We partnered with Blueprint for All (previously known as the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust) to launch this life-changing scheme. The programme helps combat the lack of inclusivity and diversity within the built environment sector, by preparing young people of Black and Ethnic heritage, and/or under-represented backgrounds, for a career in architecture. The campaign helps to build the foundations of their careers, by delivering ongoing support and specialist training. It also helps to provide a medium through which these groups can access the same opportunities as their peers.

#BeMoreInclusive was established to increase the number of registered architects from black and ethnic minorities. Currently, they make up less than 7%, so something really needed to change, and despite our ongoing efforts, there’s still a long way to go. This is why we have focussed on helping students find placements and work experience with the help of Blueprint for All’s Building Futures programme.

The programme currently works with more than 50 architecture firms and other companies within the built environment sector to provide students with: financial support, mentoring, workshops, and peer networks. It is designed to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented groups whilst they study, and to ensure that they complete their studies. Architects of Black and Ethnic heritage have the lowest progression statistics. RIBA education statistics show an apparent lack of progression from part 1 into the practical training, and a lack of progression into PART 2 and 3 placements for Black and ethnic minorities students, when compared to the progression statistics of their white counterparts.

As an architecture and interior design recruitment specialist, we are very knowledgeable about the industry’s interview process, i.e., accessibility and insight into the industry’s most sought-after skillsets. Therefore, team urban know how to train and support candidates in need of placements, especially when it comes to CV structure and interview prep. This is why the partnership has gone from strength to strength. We continue to support alumni with their ongoing careers by providing our recruitment solutions.

Our business complements Blueprint for All’s Building Futures programme by closing the gap between alumni and their careers.

We are proud to announce that the #beMoreInclusive scheme has exceeded its initial (Year 1) goal of raising £20,000 within 10 months; it is currently at £25,600. The impact of the initiative has been outstanding! We launched the campaign at the start of the lockdown, and even when faced with difficulty and uncertainty, we were able to make more than ten placements, plus a few more, which are currently being processed. This was made possible by the amazing support of our clients, our exceptional team, and the tremendous help of our partner, Blueprint for All. We now set our sights on our year 2 target of £50,000!

We currently provide the following services as a part of our #BeMoreInclusive Initiative:

For part one graduates urban will:

  • Deliver in-depth support for Part 1 graduates to gain work experience and qualify as architects.
  • Give candidates detailed CV advice and interview preparation.
  • Introduce the #BeMoreInclusive candidates to our network.
  • Ask the employer to make a donation to Blueprint for All, which will provide funding to help more young people from under-represented backgrounds enter, and stay in, architecture careers.

All levels of experience

  • urban will provide our comprehensive recruitment service to Blueprint for All’s architecture partners, but with a difference. For each successful placement made, urban will donate £1,000 from the introduction fee to Blueprint for All.
  • This stage of the partnership will apply to all architect, BIM, interior design, and technical roles, at all degrees of seniority and regardless of candidate demographic.

On a final note, we spoke with our operations director, Mark Nagle, to find out how he feels about founding an award-winning initiative.

“Winning a Business Charity Award for our #BeMoreInclusive initiative feels so special. It serves to prove that no matter the size of your organisation, if you have the will and passion for positive change, you can genuinely make a difference, no matter how difficult the environment is in which you are operating. This accolade is one that I, personally, will cherish and use as a spur to continue innovating to maximise the impact we can have on improving diversity and inclusion in the architectural industry. This is just the beginning!”

Mark Nagle. Operations Director, urban.



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