Inside Wates Group’s social value strategy


Wates has two clear social value objectives. They are underpinned by three themes. Let’s see what they are.

Wates worker wearing helmet.
Credit: Wates Group
by Andrew CurtinMarch 30, 2023

Social value. It’s on everyone’s radar.

And it’s not just to ‘tick a box’. As well as societal and environmental gains, social value strategies help economic outcomes within an organisation.

The best way to learn anything, is to learn from others. Especially successful people or companies. There could be an argument that we learn a lot from unsuccessful people too, but that’s for another day.

OK. Let’s start with Wates. 

Wates has two clear social value objectives:

  • Leave a lasting legacy in communities where they live and work.
  • Demonstrate that business can be a force for good.

Their objectives are underpinned by three themes:

Challenge equality:

Their construction projects aim to provide employment for those people furthest from the workforce. People in these groups include care leavers, ex-offenders, ex-service personnel, the unemployed, people with disabilities, and those with experience of homelessness.

How will they achieve this?

  • By employing one person, from groups furthest from the workforce on every project. 
  • Become a recognised Living Wage Service Provider.

By 2025, 100% of their customers are requested to consider the Real Living Wage for their contracts, advocated by the Living Wage Foundation – a voluntary and independently set pay rate that reflects the true cost of living, helping to stop work poverty.

Inspire and educate young people:

Wates’ education and engagement programmes provide young people with employability skills for the workplace. They present opportunities from a range of careers in construction and the built environment.

Programmes are designed to link with Wates’ Diversity & Inclusion strategy by promoting the sector to under-represented groups, especially women and young people from the BAME community. They also seek to promote social mobility. Implementing early engagement with young people most at risk of facing barriers to work when they leave education.

How will they achieve this?

  • Speaking with 10,000 primary age children about careers in the built environment via summer programmes and workshops.
  • Educate 15,000 young people in secondary/further education via mentoring programmes, employability workshops, internships, site visits, and much more.

Support and scale social enterprise:

Collaborating with social enterprises provides Wates a tangible way to leverage purchasing power and deliver social value. Wates has already spent over £20 million with the SE sector and will continue to strengthen the important contribution of social enterprises. 

How will they achieve this?

  • Spend £25 million with social enterprises. Wates will support five social enterprises to achieve national scale. One SE is Impact Hub London, an entrepreneurial accelerator programme with 107 hubs in 60 countries.

OK. That’s all for today. I might do this again with another company.

P.S. sign-up for our newsletter below ????

Get industry news in 5 minutes!

A daily email that makes industry news enjoyable. It’s completely free.