Wates are driven by their purpose of working together to inspire better ways of creating the places, communities and businesses of tomorrow. Our five year ‘Creating Opportunities’ social value strategy is all about demonstrating this ethos through challenging inequality, inspiring and educating young people about careers in the built environment and supporting and scaling the social enterprise sector.
Current statistics show that during the coronavirus pandemic, there was increases in unemployment rates. Young people have been particularly affected by the pandemic with the unemployment rate increasing by more in comparison to those aged 25 and over. The CITB predicts that construction will need 216,800 new workers by 2025 to meet the demand. As market leaders, we want to raise awareness about the exciting range of career options in the built environment and attract a more inclusive and larger talent pool to the sector. Our employability programmes will do just this, equipping people to explore the world of work, and upskilling them to secure employment.
Construct a career
In 2020, to increase upskilling opportunities, we piloted a new two-week pre-employment programme in partnership with labour agency O’Neill and Brennan and training provider Cidori. The theory-based employability programme is designed to support unemployed people into work and has been enhanced with a tour of a live Wates construction site and celebration event. We are now working to offer the Construct a Career programme more widely. In light of Covid 19, a digital training programme was developed to enable people to continue upskilling from home, putting them in a stronger position to seek employment in the future.
In 2006, Wates established Building Futures, a pre-employment programme to support unemployed adults to gain a qualification and employability support. To date, 1,800 people have been supported. The programme, offered free to participants, encourages those facing barriers accessing the workplace to take positive steps to gaining employment or further training through practical skills tasters. Over 50% have moved into work following the programme. Both Building Futures and Construct a Career provide the opportunity to gain a CSCS card required to work on site. To be eligible, candidates need to be unemployed, 19+ (16+ in Wales) and be in receipt of benefits. Our delivery partner, Ixion, also checks previous levels of academic qualification to ensure funding eligibility.
the programme aims to inspire the next generation through building bridges between education and industry. We work with identified schools and partner with external organisations such as Career Ready, Skills Builder Partnership and Let Me Play to create this unique programme for our business, comprising mentoring, workshops, workplace visits and summer programmes. The Build Yourself Internship Programme lasts for 4 weeks (a combination of 3 weeks on site or office and 1 week on our summer residential). The internships that we provide enable the students to build experience which is vital in transitioning from education to rewarding employment.
In 2020 Wates launched Build Yourself Junior, an employability skills and construction programme aiming to raise awareness among primary aged children about the range of exciting career opportunities within built environment and keep minds open about the sector’s viability as a future career path, especially for young women and BAME students.
Gosport resident, Jon previously worked in a number of different roles, as a warehouse operative and in the catering industry as a chef. He became unemployed in 2017. During his visit to the Job Centre, he was made of the Building Futures course run by Wates Residential. He attended the interview and was offered the opportunity to undertake the two-week pre-employment training. He is now working for Baram the sub-contractor working for Wates Residential at the Daedalus Village site in Lee-on-the-Solent on a full time basis as a labourer/ground worker. He feels that the Building Futures Course has given him another chance and would highly recommend the course to anyone considering it.
“I am loving my job; the people are great and every day is a learning day. The Building Futures course has given me this fantastic opportunity and without it I would still be unemployed with little direction. Now I have a purpose to get up in the morning and I am excited for my future.”