Reshaping Tomorrow is our blueprint for achieving our vision of being a trusted partner while tackling some of the key challenges that businesses face today.
TRANSFORMING COMMUNITIES WHERE WE LIVE AND WORK
The recognition that business can be a force for good continued to grow in 2017. Continued skills challenges, social mobility and apprenticeships were all high on the agendas of business including Wates.
Driving social mobility
2017 saw our 100th Building Futures programme being delivered. From its roots back in 2006 in Coventry, this two week award winning and accredited programme enables those facing barriers to employment find sustainable and positive outcomes. This could be in employment, training, education or volunteering. In 2017 alone, 18 programmes were delivered in communities across the UK with our partner Ixion Holdings supporting 197 participants. Wates Giving continues to support the delivery of the programme.
Building the market for social enterprises
Social enterprises (SEs) show us how social impact and profit can go hand in hand. Credible businesses which compete in the open market, SEs are set up in a way that addresses some of society’s biggest issues such as homelessness or mental health. Wates has supported the SE sector for over six years through direct trading and wider support. In 2017 we traded £2.65m with the sector exceeding our target of £2.5m and taking our cumulative spend to £11.5m. Our target is to trade £20m with the sector by 2020. A key part of our strategy is to influence customers and supply chain to engage with SEs as part of their procurement decisions and our nine ‘Seeing is Believing’ tours were attended by 127 customer and supplier representatives.
Measuring our investment
In 2017 the total community investment made through corporate programmes such as Building Futures; support for Social Enterprises; our charity partnership with The Prince’s Trust and volunteering through Reshaping Tomorrow Week, was £3.68m. This included direct contributions, those through Wates Giving or leveraged contributions. The additional social value created was valued at £4.87m – based on independent research by New Economics Foundation. We commenced a partnership with Social Value Portal in 2017 to better measure our commitments at site level and this is proving successful.
MAKING INCLUSION A PART OF EVERYTHING WE DO
2017 saw the establishment of our Inclusion Steering Group led by Paul Chandler, Group MD of our Construction Group, shaping our plans to be an inclusive business. To help our thinking we partnered with the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI). During 2017, we analysed our Early Careers programme and identified ways to encourage more talent from under-represented groups. In addition we continued to invest through Wates Giving and the Construction Industry Training Board in our #BuildYourself programme.
Engaging with young students is key to building a pipeline and addressing the growing skills shortage. Insight days enabled us to showcase the sector and opportunities in short, fast paced sessions, with over 3,000 students attending from across the UK.
Our #ThinkBuild programme continued to grow with new schemes launched in Cardiff and South London. This structured 15-month programme in partnership with Career Ready has 90 students from under-represented groups, supported by 30 mentors from across the Wates Group. Of these students, 90% are from ethnic minorities and 30% are female. In addition, 17 students from our Think Build programme attended our first industry summer camp at Loughborough University; this six-day camp combined practical team work and classroom learning and was designed to encourage and inspire young people to consider a career in the built environment by providing a fun and unforgettable experience.