FGG has long been aware of its role, as an established company in South Africa, in the development of skills and the transfer of wealth and knowledge to those previously disadvantaged in this country.
The firm has always adopted a policy of non-discrimination and social commitment. In the mid 1980’s, following discussions with leading black role players, a policy for assisting in the advancement of the previously disadvantaged was adopted, based on the principle of genuine action as opposed to window dressing.
The policy evolved around a commitment to the education and development of students from a disadvantaged background, with the ongoing mentoring and sharing of expertise with emerging practices.
FGG have been providing bursaries for students at UKZN (former Natal University) for the past 26 years, and since 1986 these have been directed at students from a disadvantaged background. In 1994 this policy was extended to include students at Technicons. The practice has funded tuition fees and (if required) residential and living expenses, as well as giving students the opportunity to gain experience in the office, and providing support when required during their studies.
On completion of studies, graduates have been given the opportunity and are encouraged to join the firm. However in recognition of the broader responsibility to the profession as a whole, FGG have accepted that these graduates have the freedom of choice in pursuing their ongoing development.
In 2001 FGG formed an empowerment company called Sakhisizwe Architects. Through this vehicle the firm has transferred skills to all those involved, to the extent that Sakhisizwe is an entirely viable entity and is now a wholly black owned company based in Umhlanga Rocks, KwaZulu-Natal.
During construction of the K-RITH Tower Building at UKZN, FGG commissioned Jane du Rand to create the mosaic artwork that adorns the building. Part of the agreement was that Jane employ a number of participants from the Sinikthemba Clinic at McCords Hospital to help on the project. Many of whom were living with HIV and had no training or work. It presented them with the opportunity to learn a skill and earn an income.