KLC Plan to Support Increased Diversity in Interior Design
KLC is proud to support the new initiative United in Design founded by designers Sophie Ashby and Alexandria Dauley. This was created to address the lack of diversity in the industry and, in partnership with educators and industry professionals, to provide a clear road map for increasing diversity in all sections of the industry
The awful events which have taken place with the murder of George Floyd and others in the US and the way the pandemic has laid bare global social injustice have served to remind us how much needs to be done to counter prejudice, discrimination and lack of diversity.
It has also shone a spotlight on how lacking in diversity many professions and industries are. Interior Design is no exception and educators have an important role to play. At KLC we have always acknowledged, respected and celebrated differences and commonalities but we can still learn ways to continue to improve. We currently have a very clear and defined Equal Opportunities, Diversity and Inclusion policy which we follow and stand by and we protect our students and employees from any form of discrimination with clear support and guidance through our policies and procedures. However, we want to show that we reinforce this not just in words but through our actions, specifically to:
- Raise awareness of interior design as a career to a more diverse audience:
Through the Inspiring Young Designers initiative and competition in partnership with Grand Designs. A diverse group of alumni/design contacts will act as Career Ambassadors and give careers talks in a wide range of schools about interior design. Just for this year, out of necessity in the current circumstances, the talks will be done by video which will have the advantage of an even wider audience.
Through this wider outreach, inspire more BAME students to consider a design career by giving a prize of a scholarship on the full time BA (Hons) course to the competition winner.
In conjunction with United in Design develop a two-day Introduction to Interior Design course, combining inspirational talks, hands on workshops and a tour of Design Centre Showrooms, for 16-19 year olds to make them aware of the potential of interior design as a career and the variety of career paths it opens up. In the first place this will be promoted to 60 London schools through Creative Mentors. The first of these courses to be run in Spring 2021 with the possibility of developing an online version that could be made available nationally through schools. Students enrolled on this course would also be invited to attend the KLC end of year Graduate Show
- Make our courses more accessible to BAME and underprivileged students
Increase the number of bursaries and scholarships we offer with industry support
- Give BAME and underprivileged students the holistic support they need while studying
- Provide training on Unconscious Bias and Diversity Awareness for tutors, and encourage their ideas and support in order to avoid any perceived racism or prejudice.
- Provide Unconscious Bias and Diversity videos for students as part of their course induction
- Provide mentoring for BAME and underprivileged students
- Include more diverse topics within the Evolution of Styles syllabus
- Increase diversity amongst design experts and designers who give talks at KLC and where possible increase diversity amongst KLC staff
- Highlight more BAME role models to students
- Increase the number of BAME designers amongst our careers’ contacts for work experience and potential job placements
- Ensure that BAME and underprivileged students are well represented on the Academic Board
- Support BAME students with mentoring through the first few months of their employment.
- Put in additional processes as part of recruitment to avoid any unconscious bias
- Widen our recruitment pool
- Ensure all candidates are asked the same questions at interview to keep the process fair and consistent
- Look at life experiences candidates have, away from qualifications, and how this could bring more to KLC
- Promote workplace diversity through internal communications
- Showcase how we provide support, offer carer guidance and training opportunities to give equal access to career development across the company
- Create employee events that highlight and appreciate diversity.