BLOG: Taking social value to the next level

Home Insights BLOG: Taking social value to the next level

Social value is a staple of the North West Construction Hub (NWCH) Frameworks. Since 2010 the NWCH has enabled the delivery of over 7,555 social value activities and 1,400 apprenticeship placements across the North West region.

The contractors’ experience, combined with early engagement allowed by the two-stage tender process, means that NWCH contractors are able to work closely with clients to realise their plans from the beginning; the best way to deliver meaningful and long lasting impact. To ensure this is achieved, progress is measured against a number of social value KPIs throughout projects, with a number of activities required driven by project cost.

Christian Bailey considers the case for taking social value to the next level and how Wates has explored ways in which to unlock greater local benefit via the NWCH Frameworks.

Recently completing Redrock Stockport as part of our position on the North West Construction Hub (NWCH) frameworks was incredibly fulfilling. Not least because the £45m leisure destination is already being enjoyed by the people of Stockport and Greater Manchester thanks to The Light – a 10-screen cinema – and over 38,000 sq ft of retail and restaurants including Zizzi and Pizza Express.

The most rewarding aspect of the project however, was the way in which we were able to use our presence in Stockport to inspire young people, promoting our work and the construction industry and advising them on life skills to guide them towards sustainable employment.

Through our role on the NWCH frameworks, we have worked hard to ensure all the areas we are working in benefit from an economic impact, adding tangible social value to communities.

Redrock Stockport saw us support 37 apprenticeship positions and provide 11 work placements for Stockport College students. The latter has seen us embark upon on a long-term relationship with the College, in partnership with McCrory Brickwork, a member of our local supply chain, to contribute to the ongoing development of the Colleges curriculum. We also offered a programme of financial and practical support to local homlessness charity, the Wellspring Centre.

While procurement frameworks enable us to realise our commitment to economic and social regeneration, it is important to continually evolve the role we can play. Our work with the NWCH and the importance they attribute to social value, has driven us to consider ways in which we can take our community investment to the next level.

At Redrock, this saw us produce a short film that promotes careers in the construction industry as a way of increasing the impact and reach of our activity. We did so by engaging a Creative and Digital Media apprentice from Stockport Councils Apprenticeship Store in order to film, edit and produce the film, which also includes time lapse footage of the Redrock development being built.

Showcased at The Light at the official opening of Redrock at the end of 2017, the film has already enabled us to reach out to hundreds of Stockport students to inform and inspire them about the opportunities to work in the construction sector. We also intend to use it at upcoming education events and in conjunction with our national Building Futures programme, a two-week training programme for jobseekers.

Contributing to the built environment by building striking and valuable developments like Redrock Stockport provides us with immense satisfaction. However, it is our work supporting young people that will underpin our legacy as the next generation looks to enter the job market. Our place on the NWCH frameworks not only enables us to help future proof our industry by demonstrating the varied and compelling careers in construction but also allows us to equip jobseekers with the ability to help themselves stand out in a fiercely competitive job market.

Christian Bailey is Framework Manager at Wates Construction in the North West.