The accolade, presented to the company by BBC Breakfast business journalist Steph McGovern (pictured above, with Wates director Jonny Wates) at the awards ceremony in London on 12 October, recognised Wates commitment to advancing social mobility in the communities in which it works, and through its award-winning sustainability programme, Reshaping Tomorrow.
Rachel Woolliscroft, Director of Sustainability, the Wates Group, commented:
“Wates has always been committed to the long-term future of the built environment and our sustainability programmes underpin our vision to become the most trusted partner in the built environment, leaving a positive legacy for the communities in which we work and live.
We are proud that our efforts have been recognised through this award, and confident that it will encourage us to work even harder to ensure we do as much as we can to embed sustainability and provide opportunities for the next generation.”
Wates Group, which was established by the Wates family in 1897, employs around 4,000 people in the UK, and was awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development in 2016.
Through Reshaping Tomorrow, the company runs a number of innovative programmes focused on promoting social and environmental sustainability, including:
- Building Futures a pre-employment programme focused on helping the long-term unemployed gain real work skills. Since its establishment ten years ago, over 1500 people have completed the programme with 55% of graduates moving into employment, education or training
- Build Yourself a programme to encourage young people to consider careers in the built environment
- Wates Sustainable Technology Services Wates approach to tackling challenges around energy and climate change; a technology brokerage service promoting the adoption of emerging energy and resource-saving technologies through major customers
In addition, the company is a founding partner of the Buy Social Corporate Challenge a business-wide initiative to spend £1billion with social enterprises, and is committed to working with social enterprises on every project it manages. Over the last five years Wates has spent over £10.5m via social enterprises, with £2.3m spent in 2016 alone.
Other finalists in the award category were: Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Rolls Royce; the Ministry of Justice; CBRE; and the Civil Service Fast Stream and Early Talent.
- The UK Social Mobility Awards is organised by leading Social Mobility charity Making The Leap, who have supported over 50,000 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds over 24 years. The mission of the UK Social Mobility Awards is to promote the issue of social mobility, and best practice, and celebrate the businesses and organisations who are demonstrating excellence in this arena. This awards programme is for UK-based private sector, public sector and third sector organisations that have at least 20 employees.