Wates brought its Building Futures programme to the community of Willenhall, an area in which there is a need for increased employment and training opportunities. Over the course of the two-week programme, eight candidates took part in various trade taster sessions and were given the opportunity to develop skills that will help them in their efforts to secure employment.
During the two weeks, the students were able to put the skills they learnt into practice by refurbishing a nursery room at Willenhall Education, Employment and Training (WEET) Centre, an educational organisation that provides advice and support for people throughout the area.
Building Futures is an accredited vocational training programme for individuals that are not in education, employment or training, aiming to help them make the transition into work, and was launched by the Wates Group in 2006.
The course in Coventry was delivered in partnership with WM Housing Group, which is working with Wates on the £10 million development of 61 new homes on the site of the former Chace Hostel in Willenhall. 41 of these homes will be sold on the open market and 20 will be made available for affordable rent.
Coventry-based Whitefriars Housing, part of WM Housing Group, will manage the homes for rent. These new houses are being built to help meet the growing need for affordable homes in the area, backed by a £400,000 grant from the Homes and Communities Agency.
At the end of the programme, a closing ceremony was held at which the candidates were awarded their course certificates. Carmel McCarthy, Director of Housing, Whitefriars and Claire Hardwick, Head of Community Investment, WM Housing Group attended the event alongside a number of Wates employees.
Jo Jamieson, Managing Director, Wates Residential North, commented:
“It has been amazing to see the progress the candidates have made in just two weeks. The positive impact our Building Futures programme has on jobseekers and the construction industry as a whole is huge; it provides candidates with the opportunity to learn new skills and prepare them for employment, while also introducing bright new talent into the industry.
Bringing the programme to Willenhall was important, as this is a community that requires support with regards to employment and training opportunities. We hope everyone that took part in this course will leave with an improved knowledge of how schemes such as this work and that it will inspire them to consider taking further steps towards a rewarding career in the residential building industry.”
Claire Hardwick, Head of Community Investment, WM Housing Group, said:
“WM Housing Group, which includes Whitefriars Housing in Coventry, are committed to maximising the positive social impact we can achieve through the delivery of all aspects of our work. Working in partnership to deliver new housing such as this development in Willenhall provides great opportunities to make a positive wider social impact in the local area.
Holding the Building Futures course at the WEET Centre in Willenhall meant that local unemployed residents could easily access it and make the most of the excellent construction training provided by Wates. We were delighted that five of the trainees are Whitefriars customers who live in the local area. It was a pleasure to meet all of the trainees and hear about their plans to put their training into practice and get a job in construction. We wish them every success and look forward to hearing how they get on.”
The Building Futures programme has seen over 1,000 people take part in more than 100 programmes across the UK. Wates’ Communities First team will continue to support the candidates throughout their search for employment or further training.