Equality, Diversity, Inclusion, Outreach

Practice approach
At MICA we understand that the actions of our staff, beyond the design that we create, can have a real impact on our local surroundings. We have taken significant steps to ensure that all our employees understand that social responsibility, including sustainability, equality and diversity, is a key part of MICA, in our everyday lives.

Benchmarks are important to us, giving a target towards which we strive. We aim for an equal representation of genders across our practice in the long term, and have been tracking our gender ratio since 2016, and internally reporting our gender pay gap. We also strive to have a balanced representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnicities within our practice, reflecting the ratios of inner London where we practice. Though we may not achieved these goals yet, we monitor our progress annually and continue to take concrete actions towards achieving them.

Goals and benchmarks must be complemented with a supportive and nurturing environment, ensuring that all staff that we employ feel valued and enabled to perform to their fullest potential. We pride ourselves on being a warm, friendly and inclusive environment, where all employees are treated with respect and given equal opportunity to thrive and advance. In addition to Professional Experience Development Record mentoring required for architectural assistants, we also offer confidential pastoral mentoring for all employees, regardless of seniority, which allows members of the office to receive support and advice outside of their immediate project environment. Participation in these activities is always led by senior staff including Directors, setting an excellent example to all employees by demonstrating commitment to these important causes.

We also ensure that we attract the widest range of applicants, and avoid recruiting only via recommendations, to attract a diverse group of staff. All positions are publicly advertised, stating our commitment to equal opportunities employment and the London Living Wage. We explicitly note that we welcome applications from those under-represented in the industry including Black, Asian and minority ethnicities, and female candidates, and those with disabilities. We recognise the high cost of an architecture education and support alternative routes into practice, offering employment for those undertaking part-time degrees, and welcoming those on apprenticeships.

Further to our in-house activities, we continually engage with outside organisations to improve the reach of our activities, and give our staff the opportunity to engage in outreach, which they always find personally and professionally enriching.

LSA Student Internships
Supporting London School of Architecture Students
WIA Speed Mentoring Sessions
MICA Mentoring Schemes
Outreach Presentations to Secondary Schools by Architects
Social Mobility
1 / 7 LSA Student Internships

Blueprint for All

Since 2017, MICA has been actively engaged with the Blueprint for All, formerly Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust through a partnership scheme, which allows us to provide mentoring and skills workshops directly to students from disadvantaged backgrounds studying architecture in London. Several employees have dedicated their time outside office hours to mentoring these students and offering them new skills, in addition to a valuable professional network. We were the biggest contributor to the scheme in 2017-18 and have recently spearheaded digital delivery of Pathways to the Professions career sessions, a new programme necessitated by the Covid-19 restrictions.

Women in Architecture

MICA is a Practice Partner in the W Programme with Architects’ Journal and Architecture Review, dedicated to recognising the achievement of women in the profession through events, mentoring, awards, surveys and publications of thought-provoking articles in the two affiliated journals. We have been involved since the programme’s inception, and our senior staff regularly participate in twice-yearly steering group meetings. Employees from all levels and genders eagerly attend events such as talks, networking gatherings and speed mentoring. We receive a dedicated analysis of our employees anonymised survey responses in comparison to the wider architectural community, which offers excellent guidance on how we can improve our working environment to ensure it is equitable to all.

Social Mobility Foundation

In recent years we have increasingly engaged with the Social Mobility Foundation, a charity which supports disadvantaged young people into professions where they are typically under-represented. Several of our staff independently mentor young people from inner London and for the last two years we have welcomed two students each year for work experience. This is incredibly rewarding as we see the students exposed to professional team dynamics and gradually become more confident speaking within a professional setting. Based in Camden, a borough of great disparity in income and opportunity, we value the chance to welcome members of the community into our working life and introduce them to some of MICA’s wonderful projects.

Schools Outreach

All our outreach activities are focussed on diversifying the reach of our work and encouraging a broad range of people to enter the profession. We have found that the pipeline of students completing ARB and RIBA accredited degrees in architecture does not reflect the diversity of the UK or London population, and so we have increased our focus on promoting architecture and construction industry professions to secondary school pupils since 2020. We have initially focussed on state funded secondary schools in our home borough of Camden and have had excellent up-take. A leaflet demonstrating the support and services we offer is available for download here, and we welcome contact from state secondary schools across London.

Summer internship for disadvantaged students

Further to the outreach activities outlined above, we recognise that the most critical step in a young architect’s career is landing their first paid job in architecture, particularly for those without personal or academic connections to architecture practices. As such, we have decided to launch a paid summer internship dedicated to those from disadvantaged backgrounds searching for their first paid practice placement after having completed at least one year of an accredited architecture degree. We are partnering with the Social Mobility Foundation and Blueprint for All in recruitment, and further details will be forthcoming in spring 2021, with the first internship intended to be held in summer 2021.

We always welcome feedback from our community on how we can improve our practice and are inspired by activities that our peer architecture and design firms have put in place. Please email info@micaarchitects.com if you would like to discuss any aspect of our social responsibility strategy.


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