DesignInc has a proactive approach to diversity and inclusion in both the workplace and industry and is proud to announce the first donor-funded scholarship supporting an Indigenous Australian student in Western Sydney University’s faculty of Architecture.

DesignInc’s collective values promote diversity and inclusion, with gender equity, mentoring and celebrating diversity initiatives forming an important part of the company’s culture. DesignInc is always looking to embrace new initiatives that support and enrich that culture and is excited to partner with WSU.

“The DesignInc Directors were motivated to work with WSU as a leader in diversity and social inclusion, demonstrated by its commitment to high school, university support and outreach programs addressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander opportunity,” says Tara Keast, DesignInc Human Resources Manager.

DesignInc_Scholarship_04Pictured above: Sandeep Amin (DesignInc Managing Director) and Tara Keast (DesignInc Human Resources Manager)

DesignInc Sydney employees comprise 28 nationalities. Many came to Australia as immigrants, and all know the power of education and the value of being given an opportunity. “It is an honour for us to extend our support to the Indigenous community and to empower someone with the tool of education to find success,” says Sandeep Amin, DesignInc Managing Director. “In turn, as architects, perhaps we will learn the ‘old ways’ of understanding the land, and how the built environment can be in harmony with the natural, or even the spiritual environment.” In 2018, there were only eight registered architects in NSW that identify as Indigenous, and only 28 registered architects nationally according to the 2016 census.

The scholarship, valued at $150,000 ($30,000 per year for five years), will be offered to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student enrolled in architecture at UWS from Semester 1, 2020. It will fund their graduate and post-graduate studies, living expenses, and DesignInc will provide work experience and mentorship to assist them into the workforce. The student will receive a paid internship during their studies; and a guaranteed full-time permanent job following graduation.

WSU launched its architecture program in 2019. It centres on the urban transformation of contemporary cities and preparing architects for global employment alongside technological and intellectual skills to create sustainable, resilient and well-designed environments. WSU will provide a shortlist of candidates for the scholarship, and a panel will select the recipient. At the completion of five years, DesignInc will provide a scholarship for another Indigenous student embarking on their architecture career.

DesignInc has partnered with WSU because of its mission, ethos and proven track record as a leader in educational opportunities for Indigenous people in Western Sydney. The area is home to the largest population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, and is a centre for new architectural development.

“We hope the scholarship will not only create positive change in one person’s life, but also spur positive change in the industry.” says Tara. As a role model for diversity and inclusion in architecture, DesignInc hopes the scholarship will encourage other firms to create and support more opportunities for the Indigenous community.

WSU announced the scholarship as part of its Giving Back Day celebrations on 4 September 2019.