Firm believes in designing a responsible business

Mark Stevens of GSSArchitecture
Mark Stevens of GSSArchitecture

A firm of architects is opening its doors to the community.

GSSArchitecture, which has bases in Kettering and Northampton, is taking part in Responsible Business Week, which takes place from April 15 to 19, and celebrates UK business and demonstrates their role as a force for good in society.

Companies across the UK are opening their doors and sharing their stories of how responsible business practice has helped them transform their business and the communities in which they work.

The event is taking place with the support of Business in the Community.

GSSArchitecture partner, Mark Stevens, said: “To me at GSSArchitecture, responsible business means giving something back to the communities in which work in and recruit from. We have found there are a number of ways which cost us very little in terms of capital outlay, in which we can ‘give back’.

“This view of responsible business can lead to real tangible business and community benefits, it is not just nice business fluff, so to speak.

“For example, we have found one of the most successful (in business terms) methods in which we support our communities is by supporting a network of professionals prepared to give their time to genuine community and voluntary organisations such as the Business in the Community ProHelp Programme.

“The programme matches suitable businesses with third sector organisations which have a need for a professional service that the membership can provide. This is a service which would normally have to be paid for, but through ProHelp comes free of charge, subject to a limit on the number of free hours provided by the member.

“We also believe that responsible business means providing stimulating opportunities for young people, regardless of their background. Some professions have for too long been restricted to the middle classes, our own included.

“Our view is that every schoolchild should be given a work experience placement which inspires them about the world of work. As such, we have developed a work experience programme called ‘Designing Your Future’ which actually puts the placement in the role of the architect designing a building for a client for a week.

“Over the course of the week the student will measure our existing building and design an extension to it based on stakeholder (i.e. our staff) needs. Most of the students are fairly IT literate, but we often find it is the first instance they have had to engage with adults who are not their parents or teachers.

“The placement ends with the student presenting their design to a member of staff on a Friday lunchtime. The programme was developed as we believed there were limited opportunities for children from non-traditional architectural backgrounds to work in our environment, and it has certainly been successful.”

For more information about Responsible Business Week, go to www.bitc.org.uk/programmes/responsible-business-week-2013