Designed to address retention and development of talented practitioners in the built environment FLUID began back in 2012 and supports individuals from diverse backgrounds over a period of 12 months using a one-to-one developmental model with volunteer mentors and mentee applicants, recruited and paired from across all levels and all professional disciplines. It particularly seeks to support and encourage those under-represented in the professional and managerial disciplines including women, BME and LGBT practitioners, and professionals with disabilities and those from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
FLUID founder and founder and director of social enterprise Built By Us, Danna Walker, opened the event with a call for effective action by the industry to address diversity and inclusion at all levels. She stated the objectives behind the programme – knowledge exchange, support and role models – “applying to become a FLUID mentee is a positive step to empowering yourself and each other to face challenges, gain insight and perspective, and to aspire.” She went on to say that she is “proud to continue to run FLUID which is free to access and ensures we don’t lose talent. I’m proud to work with our very supportive sponsors such as EPR Architects and our partners and I’m incredibly proud of the volunteer mentors who give their time to others, year after year and are essential to the success of the project, though we can always do with more of all three!”
Award-winning architect, lecturer and writer David Ogunmuyiwa, Partner ArchitectureDoingPlace, and the London Mayor’s Design Advocate, provided the Keynote Address at this years launch event and called for a widening of participation “there are plenty of minorities but these are not reflected when we step into a room”, and systemic change “I’ve not met people who have excluded me but I have come across systems that have”. He emphasised the importance of talent retention and opportunity for progression so that individuals “can thrive and give back… If everybody had equal chances it would add £44 billion to UK GDP and make us all more prosperous.
To find out more about the FLUID Diversity mentoring Scheme click here.