Wates Construction is encouraging businesses across Hampshire to explore relationships with social enterprises, having spent over £98,364 with the sector in the Southern Home Counties so far this year.
Activities at the company’s Basingstoke office have accounted for £21,796 of that spend as a result of a drive to use social enterprises to support its day-to-day operations.
Stationery is sourced from Commercial Office Supplies, a purpose-led business that donates 20% of profits generated to the social enterprise it established, Commercial Foundation. At Commercial Foundation, disadvantaged young people are given the opportunity to turn their lives around via support, mentoring, training and workplace experience. More than 86% of the young people who take part go on to secure permanent work or further training.
In addition to this, Wates employs the services of Recycling Lives, a unique business that uses its recycling and waste management operations to directly support and sustain a number of charity programmes. These include food redistribution to support charities, offender rehabilitation and services to tackle homelessness, as well as job creation from its growth.
Wates has committed to spending over £20m with social enterprises by 2020, with each of the Group’s business units employing at least one SE on each of its projects.
Research commissioned by Wates last year revealed that expenditure with social enterprises generates 77% more social value – or £1.77 for every £1 spent – than when procuring services from commercial businesses. In the period up to July of this year, Wates generated £174,104 of social value for the Southern Home Counties region.
Wates’ commitment to communities is also evidenced by its two-week accredited training programme Building Futures. Launched in 2005, over 1,250 people have completed the course across the UK.
At a recent course in Hampshire, the candidates worked towards achieving a BTEC Level 1 in construction, traffic marshalling, asbestos awareness and health and safety qualifications, as well as sitting the Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) exam on the final morning.
Aaron Jackson, who took part in the course, said:
“I’d highly recommend Building Futures. It has the practical work and practice you need to get a CSCS card. For anyone looking to get into construction, it gives you everything.”
The training programme also provides hands on experience in joinery and multi-trade skills and offers interview techniques and coaching for successful employment on completion of the course. After completing the programme the candidates are supported by Ixion Holdings for six months, with further employability support to anyone who requires it.
Alec Jackman, Business Unit Director, Wates Construction Southern Home Counties, said:
“Our working relationship with SEs means we are ensuring our work has a positive impact on vital causes across society and our commitment to training, as evidenced by Building Futures, reflects our determination to support the future of the industry as a whole. While we’re pleased the impact our approach is having, the benefits would be even greater if more businesses across all industries worked with SEs and committed to training the future workforce.”
Simon Edwards, Commercial Director, Recycling Lives, commented:
“We use recycling partnerships to change lives – for every commercial contract we deliver, we create social impact through our three social programmes. Our partnership with Wates Construction has not only supported the development of construction projects but also contributed to the creation of millions of pounds in social value.”