Wates Group - Building Futures

The Employment for Excluded Groups Award, Finalist, 2016

The Building Futures programme has helped hundreds of young jobseekers gain the skills to pursue careers in construction and beyond.

Good for society

  • Of the 939 jobseekers who have taken part in the programme, more than half (56%) have moved into employment or training.
  • 5,500 hours have been volunteered to local community projects – much (80%) within the UK’s highest areas of deprivation.

Good for business

  • Building Futures is an important part of Wates Group’s business and helps differentiate the company from other builders.
  • The scheme helps address skills gaps within the construction industry and so helps ensure there will be a workforce to fill the 182,000 jobs the industry expects to generate in the next three years.

Wates Group logo


Building Futures is a two week training scheme, developed and delivered by employees at construction company, Wates Group, which aims to get unemployed young people started in the building trade.Wates is a family owned company and Brighter Futures is run in partnership with Ixion Holdings Ltd, a training charity which is part of Anglia Ruskin University.

Leaving school and entering the world of work can be a difficult transition, especially for young people with few qualifications under their belt. The Building Futures scheme helps smooth this journey and trainees who complete the course are awarded a nationally recognised certificate. 

Successful participants are also given a Construction Skills Certificate Scheme card, which is the minimum requirement for anyone hoping to work in the industry and shows prospective employers they have learnt about health and safety.

In the decade since the programme launched in 2005, the two-week programme has run 82 times and supported 939 unemployed people. Of these more than half (56%) went on to employment or further training.

Almost half (48%) of those who have participated in Building Futures so far have been aged 19-24 years and the scheme is helping to tackle joblessness which is a particular problem for school leavers. One in ten of those who take part in the course have served time in prison but the risk of them reoffending after doing the course is reduced by 37%.

Building Futures generates £1.83 worth of benefits for society for every £1 invested and the programme is helping Wates identify and address skills gaps in the construction industry. 

In the next three years, it’s predicted there will be 182,000 new jobs in construction, Wates wants to make sure those looking for work are well placed to fill those roles.


Being family owned, Wates doesn’t need to service short-sighted shareholders out to make fast profit. It can be single-minded in its commitment to delivering for its customers while making a lasting difference to the communities in which it works. 

Wates’ vision is to be recognised as the most trusted construction company, delivering every project on time, on budget and safely. Building Futures aims to encourage unemployed adults back into the workplace by developing their construction and employability skills. 

Wates has invested £11m in community investment programmes since 2010 (monetary and employee time). BF investment equates to 14% of this overall figure – that’s a £1.5m investment into local communities, 80% in areas of highest deprivation.

Skills shortage

In the next few years, the Government predicts Britain will have a shortage of people with the skills needed to enter the construction trade. Building Futures is Wates Group’s contribution to fixing the problem. Wates’ 2020 Reshaping Tomorrow Communities (RTC) strategy outlines its commitment to leave a lasting legacy in the communities in which it works. By 2020 the firm wants to encourage 20,000 people to make positive changes to their lives by attending the short course.

The programme also helps tackle the issue of young people finishing school with no work or further education to go on to by providing a path from school to employment.

Trusted partners

There are currently 1.75 million unemployed adults in the UK.  People who have been unemployed for prolonged periods face additional barriers such as low confidence, so particularly benefit from programmes such as Building Futures.

As construction company, Wates group needs to be seen as a trusted partner. The company prides itself on its core values of integrity, intelligence, teamwork, performance and respect for people and communities. 

What Wates Group's Chief Executive said:

“Through our Reshaping Tomorrow programme, we are working with colleagues, customers, partners and suppliers to drive the change that is needed to deliver sustainable buildings and flourishing communities.

“Reshaping Tomorrow is a vision that will guide Wates to 2020 and beyond and builds upon our core values of performance, intelligence, teamwork, integrity and, in particular, respect for people and communities. Tomorrow’s Communities will focus on working in partnership to enable local communities to prosper for the future. Our vision is to boost employment and training opportunities for those with barriers to work through our Building Futures initiative.” - Andrew Davies – Chief Executive, Wates Group