Architect Danna Walker launched Built By Us to help other people to get on in the construction industry she joined as an apprentice. She explained why to Emma Lange
As an apprentice electrician and now a qualified architect, Danna Walker has experienced a consistent lack of diversity in the fields she has worked in.
“Everything is affected by our built environment, from outdoor green spaces, to train stations,” she says. “And yet the ones creating these environments did not reflect the society they serve.”
This, paired with a personal passion for inclusion gave her the idea to start Built By Us, a platform for connecting diverse talent in the construction sector.
Danna enrolled in Brixton based startup incubator Hatch Enterprise where she developed her idea into a social enterprise.
“I felt very passionate about my cause, but didn’t feel ready to commit to starting my own business.”
But the Hatch programme was a perfect fit. As well as the support and skills she gained to build her business, Danna benefited from the mentoring aspect of the programme.
“My mentor, Ignacio Delcastillo from Deutsche Bank, was brilliant, understanding and driven. He now sits on the advisory board for Built By Us.”
Danna is a strong champion for mentoring, having experienced the benefits of both mentoring and being mentored in past roles.
“Mentoring should not be restricted to early stage career-growth,” she reflects. “It provides a wealth of knowledge that can be tapped at any stage of your life.”
Built By Us’ Making It project supports and mentors people from different backgrounds and experiences who are interested in entering the construction sector.
The project wants to engage people who would not think of themselves as potential construction candidates.
“The industry presents itself as construction, but it is a very diverse sector that includes many creative aspects as well,” says Danna. “We hope to recruit diverse talent by showcasing the variety of roles available and by providing strong role models.”
By growing a diverse pool of talent, Built By Us then connects its candidates with construction companies, to help build inclusive workforces.
If you are curious about construction, visit Built By Us to find out more about its free career events and opportunities to get involved.