The call to action follows Zak’s 18-month tenure as one of four Wates social enterprise ambassadors in the Midlands who have worked together to embed SEs in Wates’ regional project supply chain.
When you really get under the skin of what a social enterprise is set up to do, it’s a really effective business model. SEs are businesses that use their profits to support some of the most vulnerable members of society, with the money they make going towards improving the lives of local people.
“Wates has a very strong commitment to engage with SEs and in 2016 we spent £2.13m with the sector across the UK. We have also pledged to spend £20m with SEs by 2020 so it’s been an amazing opportunity to work as a social enterprise ambassador for a business that really understands the great work that SEs do.
“In Nottingham our work with social enterprises includes Streetwise Environmental, who have recently completed a £20k landscaping job at our Bluecoat Academy project for Nottingham City Council. Streetwise work with the aim of protecting and caring for the environment and they use their work to give talks and education programmes to help spread the message, so having them as part of our supply chain has also been a great way to ensure we’re working sustainably.”
Zak and his colleagues have now handed over their responsibilities to the new social enterprise ambassadors in the Midlands, who will each carry on Zak’s work to increase awareness and use of SEs.
Being a social enterprise ambassador alongside my surveying role has been such an important part of my career development. Working with our project supply chain is a huge part of my day-to-day job and understanding where social enterprises fit within this has been such a rewarding learning experience.
“Since joining Wates, all of the projects that I have worked on have been through our procurement partners in the region, the East Midlands Property Alliance (empa), and this has further helped our work with SEs. As a lead partner on the framework, we work with empa to make sure that we use local suppliers and sub-contractors where possible. This way we make sure that project budgets are reinvested back into the local economy.
“I am very proud to have been able to take this a step further and to have been a part of not only buying local, but also buying social, something I will take with me for the rest of my career.”
Throughout his time with Wates, Zak has worked across a range of empa projects in the East Midlands. These include Bluecoat Academy in Nottingham, the new Wellingborough Crematorium, Worksop Bus Station and the new Vehicle Depot in Blaby.