Wates Construction’s North East team, based in Durham, has announced that in the last 12 months it has delivered a total spend of £1238,679 against a target of £93,000 to support social enterprises across the region.
Social enterprises are like traditional businesses in that they aim to make a profit but it’s what they do with their profits that sets them apart reinvesting or donating them to create positive social change.
As well as prioritising and investing in these business partnerships, Wates also creates a legacy for its projects by investing in local charities, helping schools with education initiatives, introducing people to the construction industry and helping them to secure work, or ensuring labour and subcontractors come from local supply chains.
Social enterprise plays a major role in every project Wates delivers, and over the course of 2020 the firm has spent £128,679 with these regional businesses, as well as hosting 23 work experience placements, supporting or establishing 14 apprenticeship positions, delivering six employability events and hosting 39 educational initiatives with local schools, college and universities, all on projects across the North East.
Significant projects include Wates’ work at Teesside University’s Cornell Quarter student accommodation, and Gibside SEN school, in Gateshead, procured via SCAPE’s Construction framework.
At the latter, Wates worked in partnership with Novus, the UK’s leading provider of education and employability services to offenders, to hold an employability and training event at HMP Northumberland for 11 prisoners who had expressed interest or had prior experience of working in construction. Participants were proactively targeted to attend the event if they were due for release within the following six months and located within 10 miles of Gibside (SEN) site.
This included giving them talks on the opportunities available in the construction industry, mentoring, mock interviews and CV writing support, and funding Asbestos Awareness courses for all learners to ensure they had useful qualifications on their release.
David Wingfield, Business Unit Director at Wates Construction, said:
“Construction projects represent a huge amount of investment and opportunity, and it is vital that they deliver a positive, lasting legacy for the local communities they serve one which goes beyond just a new building. We are committed to delivering value to local communities on every one of our builds across the North East.
“At the beginning of every project and throughout, we identify where we can have the biggest positive impact, what partners to work with, and how we can best keep spend in the region to help support the local economy and provide new jobs. While the challenges of 2020 have made it difficult to deliver such initiatives using our usual methods, our teams have adapted and evolved their approach to exceed expectations and deliver tangible, amazing results. I sincerely thank everyone involved from both Wates and our incredible delivery partners for their innovative thinking and commitment to ensuring we keep supporting our communities.”