“Each year Wates Group holds its industry leading Reshaping Tomorrow Week (11-15 June), a unique volunteering event that sees the business’ 4,000 employees donate their time to support the communities in which they live and work. With this year’s initiative drawing to a close, Assistant Surveyor, Zak Farnsworth, shares his views on the importance of making a difference to the lives of local people.
I have been part of the Wates team since September 2014 and the business’ commitment to supporting local communities gives me a huge amount of pride in my job. In everything we do we look for ways we can use our business as a force for good, whether we’re engaging young people in construction, caring for the environment or supporting vulnerable members of society. This dedication to help others comes into full force during Reshaping Tomorrow Week, which this year included over 80 projects nationwide. That equates to over 4,900 hours across Wates, which we collectively volunteered to help charities and community groups. That’s an incredible achievement.
For this year’s Reshaping Tomorrow Week our Midlands team donated time to help renovate Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham while in the East Midlands we refurbished the Children First’s Derby centre, which works to make a positive impact on the lives of children and families. It was great for the team to be involved in this project and taking time out of our day jobs was a great reminder that we can make a difference. Having just completed Wates’ trainee programme, I am in the early stages of my career but my time with Wates has already taught me how important it is to help others and working for an employer that encourages this makes me feel very fortunate.
Although it’s a major campaign for Wates Group, Reshaping Tomorrow Week is only one of many activities we carry out to support local people. Using our work to make a positive difference is a huge priority and I’m very proud that my work in the Midlands Construction team has enabled me to be a big part of this. In 2016 I was nominated as Social Enterprise (SE) Ambassador for the region, through which I worked with several SEs in Nottingham. I am currently on site helping to build the new Poplar Farm Primary School in Grantham and three SEs are part of our local supply chain. Streetwise Environmental, Community Wood Recycling and Recycling Lives all apply their expertise to the construction programme and use the subsequent profit generated to support some of the most vulnerable members of society.
Engaging with young people and inspiring the next generation is also something I am involved in and it’s a matter that’s very close to my heart. Not so long ago I was deciding what I wanted my future career to be so I know how important it is to engage with young people and guide them on the diverse career options available in the industry. This recently included the Budding Brunels Workshop through the Construction Youth Trust, which saw a team of us visit A Level students in Derby to carry out workshops and career talks. As a result we are taking five work experience placements on our sites in the Midlands and have placed a student with Lungfish Architects in Nottingham. I have also been involved in our Build Yourself courses for school leavers, which is supported by the Wates Family Enterprise Trust and is designed to inspire young people and help them overcome barriers to training and employment.
I am very proud to work for a business that encourages you to positively impact those around you. New opportunities to make a difference are around every corner and each one I have been involved in has been fantastic for both my professional and personal development. Reshaping Tomorrow Week was a great opportunity to work together to make a difference but it’s real value is in the momentum it builds. It inspires you to do something good at every available opportunity.”
Zak Farnsworth is Assistant Surveyor for Wates Construction in the Midlands