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RMJM funds minority architects of the future

RMJM has pumped £1 million into a new initiative with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to get black and ethnic minorities to join the profession.

The three-year scheme includes a national competition which will see six youngsters win an ‘intensive’ introductory course to architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design in Boston, USA.

The trust was set up in memory of the black south-east London teenager – murdered 15 years ago – to encourage black and ethnic minorities to enter the profession. According to the RIBA, only two per cent of practising architects in the UK are from minority backgrounds.

RMJM’s chief executive, Peter Morrison, said: ‘This is much more than a worthy initiative – it’s got a commercial and cultural imperative.

‘There’s going to be a global boom in the construction industry and, if we don’t take action now, we will not have sufficient architects to service demand and those buildings we do design will be built by white, middle-class architects.

He added: ‘We will be all the poorer as a nation for this lack of diversity.’

As part of the initative, called Architecture for Everyone, RMJM will also help run architectural workshops in ‘underground’ venues in a host of Britain’s inner cities, and aims to discover new talent through community and ‘street’ events.

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