The Wates Group has signalled its continued commitment to social value announcing that every one of its business units will achieve Living Wage Recognised Service Provider (RSP) status within five years.
The announcement, made during National Living Wage Week, means that by 2025, all Wates clients will be requested to consider the Living Wage for their contracts, with a target of 80% of all new contracts paying the real Living Wage. Wates FM, the Group’s facilities management business, is already a Living Wage RSP and yesterday the Living Wage Foundation confirmed Wates Residential as an RSP and Wates Developments as a Living Wage Employer.
The Living Wage pledge is part of Wates’ commitment to challenging inequality, one of three key themes comprising the company’s new five-year social value strategy, Creating Opportunities, which is issued today.
Alongside challenging inequality, the strategy focuses on inspiring and educating young people about careers in the built environment and supporting and scaling the social enterprise sector.
Wates Group Chief Executive, David Allen said: “At Wates we are driven by our purpose of working together to inspire better ways of creating the places, communities and businesses of tomorrow. Delivering social value is intrinsic to that purpose and to our goal of being a progressive and responsible employer. By considering social value in our business decisions, including the way we employ staff, engage with communities and buy products and services, we can cultivate a more sustainable and inclusive society, and demonstrate that business done well can be a force for good. This social value strategy is rooted in our belief that how we do business, is as important as what we do.”
Sebastian Bachelier, Programme Manager – Recognised Service Providers, Living Wage Foundation said: “We’re delighted to welcome Wates Residential and Wates Development to the movement of nearly 7,000 responsible employers across the UK who have voluntarily committed to championing the real Living Wage. During Living Wage Week it’s right that we recognise those employers, like Wates that have stepped up during an incredibly challenging time. These are the employers who will lead us out of the crisis and allow us to rebuild and recover.
“It is also very encouraging to see the Wates Group commit to becoming a Recognised Service Provider in the next five years while setting themselves an ambitious target for their new contracts.”
Creating Opportunities includes the following commitments and targets for 2025:
- Create opportunities for those furthest from the workforce, employing at least one person from an identified group* on every Wates project.
- Lead the construction sector in striving for fairer payment by Wates Group achieving Living Wage Recognised Service Provider status (RSP).
Inspiring and educating young people about careers in the built environment
- Inspire 25,000 young people about careers in construction and the built environment by 2025.
- Launch a new primary school engagement programme, Build Yourself: Junior, to help encourage children to consider construction as a career at a younger age.
Supporting and scaling the social enterprise sector
- Spend £25m with the social enterprise sector, resulting in a cumulative total of £45m by 2025.
- Pilot a new Mentoring for Growth programme in 2021, supporting Wates employees so they can act as business mentors to help at least five identified Social Enterprises to achieve national scale by 2025.
As a family-owned business, Wates Group — alongside the Family’s charitable trust, the Wates Family Enterprise Trust — has long been synonymous with delivering social value, being twice awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for sustainable development, as well as being named Organisation of the Year by the Social Mobility Awards.
Wates was one of the founding members of the Buy Social Corporate Challenge, established in 2016 by Social Enterprise UK and the Cabinet Office with the aim of collectively spending £1bn with social enterprises through procurement. In 2020 Wates surpassed its own five-year target to spend £20m with social enterprises. It has also pioneered careers opportunities for young people through its award-winning Build Yourself programme, aimed at 11-18-year-olds.
* identified groups: care leavers; ex-offenders; ex-Services; disabled; unemployed/NEET; homeless people.