Plugging the skills gap
Current statistics suggest there are nearly 1.5 million unemployed adults in the UK (ONS, Sept 2017)
At the same time, according to the Construction Industry Training Board, by 2021 the built environment sector will need over 179,000 new employees to meet projected demand.
Building Futures seeks to address both these issues by training people who may currently be marginalised from the workforce – such as the long-term unemployed, or those looking to return to work after lengthy absence – giving them an introduction to construction skills, and providing opportunities for a future career in the construction industry.
Over 1,100 people have participated in over 100 Building Futures Programmes since the programme’s inception, with over half of these moving into education, employment or training thereafter.
In 2016 we commissioned NEF Consulting to undertake a Social Return on Investment (SROI) Evaluation of the Wates Building Futures programme.
Building Futures was found to generate significant improvements in employability outcomes for participants. Factoring in the employment and training opportunities for individuals often given only limited access to the employment market, and the subsequent benefit to the UK government in reducing the number of individuals requiring benefits, Building Futures generates an estimated £1.83 of SROI for every £1 spent.
Building Futures seeks to give participants tangible, relevant career training, through a combined approach of a site visit, hands-on trade tasters, qualifications, employability training through an expert partner network.
Participants will gain the BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Construction, Asbestos Awareness, Manual Handling and a free test to secure a five-year Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card. Both of these allow participants to work on construction sites – all funded by Ixion and Wates Group. All participants also receive a set of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) clothing that they can keep.
We provide employability training in the form of job interview training, CV writing and classroom exercises designed to boost confidence, self-esteem and employment prospects to help people who have spent time out of work regain office-style experience.
Wates works alongside local referral organisations, supply chain partners, clients and our specialist training partner, Ixion, to deliver the programme. Our partners are encouraged and to employ Building Futures participants where opportunities are available.
We recognise the opportunity that Building Futures presents for the communities in which we operate and the wider construction industry. The programme is made possible by the support of the Wates Enterprise Family Trust, which has invested over £420,000 in the programme, and which will have invested over £700,000 by 2020.