Architecture closed to the poor, claims report
The architecture profession excludes those from low-income backgrounds, a report has found
According to an independent report on access to the professions, headed by former Cabinet minister Alan Milburn with input from the RIBA, the industry has a ‘closed-shop mentality’.
In the document, entitled Unleashing Aspirations, Milburn referred to a ‘first great wave of social mobility’ that took place in the late 1950s, and called on the professions to bring about a second wave.
Milburn said: ‘A typical professional born in 1958 came from a family that earned 17 per cent more than the average income… Tomorrow’s professional is growing up in a family that is better off than 7 out of 10 families in Britain.’
The report recommends keeping records of the socio-economic backgrounds of new entrants to the senior civil service – a pilot survey that could be pushed out to all professions.
Other proposed initiatives include fee-free higher education for students living at home and a £5,000 Lifelong Skill Account voucher for professionals in training.
Sunand Prasad, RIBA president and a panellist on the report, welcomed the findings, claiming there had previously been ‘a paucity of data for architecture about the economic background of people coming into the profession’.