Wates announces partnership to drive equality in the construction industry

Young Womens Trust, international womens day 2020

Wates Group has announced a new three-year partnership with Young Women’s Trust to support and inspire more women to take up careers in construction

The partnership, announced in advance of International Women’s Day 2020, will develop a work experience opportunity to broaden young women’s understanding of the construction industry and will help to combat the skills shortage.

Figures from The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) highlight that the industry will need to find 160,000 new recruits by 2023 to keep up with demand.

Wates, which is the first construction partner for Young Women’s Trust will use the partnership to help drive forward change in the industry and to support women aged 18 to 30 who are on low or no pay and are at risk of poverty.

The partnership is expected to support Young Women’s Trust’s ambition to help 15,000 women over the next three years.

As part of the partnership, Wates will:

  • Provide up to 40 volunteers for the Young Women’s Trust’s Work It Out programme, which offers free and flexible support to help women develop strong mental health and employment skills so they can take steps towards work. These volunteers will give advice and feedback on young women’s CVs and job applications, helping them to identify their strengths and secure interviews.
  • Co-develop a work experience programme within Wates for young women to help show a clear pathway into construction, boost skills and provide training opportunities
  • Raise funds through staff events which will help the charity meet its objectives of supporting 15,000 young women over the next three years, to unlock women’s potential, overcome stereotypes and build equal workplaces.

It comes after Wates launched its Diversity and Inclusion vision in July 2019: #WatesTogether, which outlined a long-term blueprint for creating a business where everyone is welcomed, included and connected.

Targets include (by 2025):

  • Having a workforce which is more reflective of society, with 60% men, 40% women, 20% BAME, 3% with a disability and 5% LGBTQ+ across all levels of the business
  • 50% of the Group’s early careers intake to be female
  • 5% of new recruits will be career returners.

The publication of #WatesTogether follows the launch last year of Wates Group’s Guiding Framework.

The Framework guides everything Wates does, defining the purpose that motivates its people, the goals they are working to achieve, and the behaviours expected of everyone working there.

In addition, Wates is committed to overhauling its carer and parental leave to help retain members of staff, supporting them in managing personal and professional commitments and helping to improve the gender pay gap.

Improving access to opportunities and supporting young women

Nikunj Upadhyay, Group head of diversity and inclusion at Wates Group, said: “Our three-year partnership with Young Women’s Trust is, first and foremost, about inspiring young women to see construction as a conscious career choice. It’s about fundamentally improving access to opportunities and supporting disadvantaged young women as well as recruiting young talent into our industry.

“At Wates Group, we believe that responsible business, done well, is good for society – it creates jobs, supports career development, and invests in the community. Our new partnership is just one of the ways that we are going to continue to be a business where everyone is welcome, included and connected.”

Sophie Walker, chief executive of Young Women’s Trust, said: “As inequality across the country grows and services for young people are cut, young women, particularly those who face complex barriers to work, are being left behind.

“The work of Young Women’s Trust has never been more important – we need to support young women so they can develop strong mental health and secure financial futures, we need to challenge career stereotypes and the systemic barriers that hold young women back.

“We are glad to have clear, dedicated and practical support from Wates. We look forward to developing a work experience model with them that can support more young women to join and thrive in the construction industry. And we are grateful to have a dedicated bank of volunteers offering CV feedback advice so that more young women can fulfil their potential.”


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