Case Studies



In May 2019, Wates Residential successfully hosted their second Building Futures programme in The Wallich, Cardiff. Running since 2007, the course has engaged with in excess of one thousand people, offering them opportunities to build on their personal life skills, employability practise, and knowledge and understanding through construction. Candidates engage in practical and classroom-focused activities and are able to gain a BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Construction Skills.

As part of this course, they also complete modules in Asbestos Awareness and Manual Handling. They also carried out their health and safety test included in the training in preparation for their Construction Skills Certification Scheme test. (CSCS) This is a mandatory qualification for Construction Workers on most large construction sites.

This year, eleven candidates completed the course, four of whom have taken up a further work experience opportunity with Wates, two apprenticeships with our Supply Chain Partner, one with paid employment in the hospitality industry, and Whalid took up a position within the British Council.

Build Yourself/Career Ready Programme/ Intern


Cardiff and Vale College have been affiliated with the national Career Ready Programme since 2009 which Wates Group have been a national sponsor. Established in 2002, it offers a wealth of opportunities for students to gain experience and boost their chances of success in their future careers. By connecting students to volunteers from the world of business, they develop the skills, confidence and behaviours to compete when they leave college.

Through a combination of internships, mentoring by employee volunteers, master classes and workplace visits, students can develop their competencies, network and start to pave their way to a positive career.

Wates are currently in their second year sponsoring the CAVC program. Wates staff in Cardiff are currently entering their third year of mentoring students from the scheme. Jack Evans 17, successfully graduated from the 2019 programme in Cardiff.

He was the second Career Ready student to complete a 3-week paid internship with Wates Residential in Cardiff. He was given a structured plan that incorporated the different areas in Construction, including Estimating, Design Management, Operations and Corporate Social Responsibility. Students are also offered a place at our summer camp for an additional week in London, where they meet businesses from across the UK.

Left: Jack pictured at Silvervale Cardiff.
Right: Jack receiving his Career Ready Think
Build award from last year’s winner, Nia Collard

Food and Fun School Holiday Programme


This is the third year running that Wates have been involved in Cardiff Council’s School Holiday Enrichment Programme. The Fun and Food programme supported all children in selected areas of the city. It enabled pupils who are in receipt of free school meals a chance to eat regular healthy meals during the Summer holidays. As the only construction firm currently supporting this excellent project, we delivered construction challenges and promoted the importance of the skills needed to achieve their goals.

Imaginative dream home of straws and connectors designed and constructed by the children of Hywel DDA primary school.



This year, the Wates Residential team in Cardiff chose to put their company volunteering hours towards a very special cause. Aaron Ellis, Assistant Head Teacher of the Riverbank Special School in Ely, Cardiff had posted a heart-felt plea on Facebook to members of the public for help with jet- washing and painting the exterior of the school.

Aaron said, “We’d managed to secure the funding for, and purchase, the materials. However, having people to help use what we had bought was the next challenge. Thanks to my Facebook post, Lucy and Sophie contacted me, and we set the wheels in motion to get painting.

Across the three days our team of eleven people donated a combined total of 86 hours. This equates to roughly £5,225 Social Return on Investment (SROI) .

Special thanks go to Kurt and Terry from Radfords Scaffolding.
Without them and their head for heights we would have taken a lot longer to complete the project!


SoHK - School of Hard Knocks

A pre-employment course that uses rugby to support young people in realising their potential has delivered its most successful course to date, with support from housing and construction partners including national developer, Wates Residential with funding from Wates Giving - the charitable programme of the Wates Family Enterprise Trust.

The School of Hard Knocks (SoHK) is designed to support unemployed adults furthest from the job market in developing life and employability skills. Sessions include CV writing and interview technique workshops in addition to rugby training. This combination helps students build the confidence and communication skills required to gain and maintain employment such as goal-setting, anger and fear management, team building, self-discipline, confidence and leadership.

The recently completed 10 week course in Cardiff supported over 63 local people, with one male and one female course running in tandem. Students on both courses graduated through a full contact rugby game at Cardiff Arms Park on 13 June where they put their new-found skills and confidence to the test, before they take the next step into employment or further training. Each candidate is supported with a tailored exit strategy to help them transition into employment, further work experience or accessing additional support. This is supported by a dedicated on-site psychologist in addition to a jobs fair with local employers before graduation.

Outcomes from previous School of Hard Knocks programmes have been staggering, with more than 70% moving into full-time work within three months of starting the course. 75% of these individuals are recorded as maintaining employment and more than 95% rate themselves as more confident, hopeful and motivated.

Catryn Grundy, Director of Programmes for SoHK commented: “This particular programme is down to the commitment and funding of all the partners, especially the charitable programme Wates Giving, who kindly awarded a grant of £20,000 to allow us to run a female course in parallel with the male course.”

Edward Rees, Business Director for Wates Residential, said: “We are incredibly proud of everyone that has graduated from the School of Hard Knocks. Their ambition to learn new skills and try new things has been inspiring and there has been a real transformation in some of the individuals’ confidence levels throughout the programme. We already have one graduate signed up to work with a supply chain partner and have also enrolled further participants onto our two week Building Futures construction and employment skills programme.

“We were delighted to have secured a Wates Giving grant for SoHK as supporting training and education is just one of the ways that we are committed to leaving a lasting legacy within Cardiff and the surrounding communities as part of our Cardiff Living housing partnership with Cardiff Council to develop 1,500 new homes across the city.”

The project is also supported by Jehu Group, Cardiff Community Housing Association (CCHA), Dwr Cymru, Principality, DWP, Cyrstal Creative and homelessness charity The Wallich, along with additional housing association partners Linc Cymru, Cadwyn, Taff and Hafod.



This year has seen two new trainees join the Wates Residential team. Connor who has joined our Commercial team as a trainee quantity surveyor at our Silvervale site said

“ Working in the commercial team is giving me a great grounding in the workings of the financial elements of construction. The team are very supportive and offer me different experiences every day.”

Our second trainee, Adam, an ex-service man who is studying site management, has joined our Operations team at our Silvervale site.

“I am really enjoying being with the Willowbrook team. Every day is different and the challenges we encounter enable me to learn and grow into my role.”


Following on from the Building Futures course held in May/June this year, we have had several success stories

Nicola came to the course having had a long and difficult journey through life. She completely threw herself into her learning and as the only woman on the course, gaining all her necessary entry level qualifications. With help from David Bennett at The Wallich BOSS Project; Community Investment Manager Lucy Davies; Howard John at Randalls Groundworks and Danni Aberg from Econ’s Career Changers programme, she has begun her 12-month ground works apprenticeship with Wates and Randalls.

Nicola is pictured opposite with John Morgan (left) and Sophie Paterson (right) and is currently based on our Silvervale site in St. Mellons.


Wates proudly sponsored the Pop-Up Business School alongside the Cardiff Council’s Into Work Team for the second year. This investment allowed the organisation to deliver the amazing two-week programme in Cardiff.

This year the course saw 105 people attend and receive the support, encouragement and guidance needed to set their own business without the initial set up costs that are experienced by most business owners. By the end of the two weeks, over a third of those who attended were ready to launch their new business. A further 60% were almost ready and hoped to launch soon.

Thanks to this impressive initiative Wates and some of their supply chain are now also using a translation business that was born through Pop Up Business School.

Wates Giving

Wates Giving is a programme of the Wates Family Enterprise Trust, a charity independent of the Wates Group. It provides grants for the communities where the Group works and backs the causes that Wates people and the Wates Family support.

The programme celebrated its 10-year anniversary and also embarked on a new strategic direction to ensure the Wates Family Enterprise Trust continues to support the Family vision to be a force for good. During 2018, the Trust was pleased to make 238 new awards investing a total of £1.28m in charitable activities. These included a range of exciting community projects across the UK, from Miss Macaroon, a Birmingham based social enterprise training young people in catering skills, to Change Please, who are refurbishing a bus to provide vital services to London’s rough sleepers.

The Trust also continued its support for existing schemes, including the Wates Group’s Building Futures pathways-to-work programme.

Wates Giving has supported the scheme since 2008, helping well over 1,500 unemployed people nationally.

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