James Wates

James Wates

James has worked in construction his entire life and feels passionately that it plays a crucial role in the UK’s economic and social well-being. Through his numerous roles, he champions change in the sector – encouraging the investment in skills development, greater collaboration, and the application of modern methods of construction, with the ultimate goal of creating a higher quality built environment, stronger communities and a better society.

James read estate management at college and joined Wates construction in 1983, progressing through the management to running sites, before taking on a General Manager role in 1989. He became Chairman in 2013.

His key positions in the sector include: Chairman of the CBI Construction Council, Chairman of CITB, Past President of CIOB, Chairman of the BRE Trust, Non-executive Director of Argent Services LLP, and Co-chair of the government-sponsored Infrastructure Exports: UK.

In line with his belief that good business, well done, is good for society, he has taken on a number of roles outside of the construction sector, including Chairman of the think tank Tomorrow’s Company, Chairman of the Princes Trust Corporate Advisory Group, and Ambassador for the Young Women’s Trust.

In 2012 he was awarded the CBE for services to construction and the charitable sector.

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    Get better soon

    2018-04-25T06:00:00

    The fallout from Carillion’s collapse and the recent gender pay gap data underline the urgent need for our industry to change

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    Let's get it together

    2018-01-30T06:30:00

    To fix the industry’s problems on inefficiency and building quality, we need better collaboration between builders, engineers and architects early in the process

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    Diversity is all

    2017-10-25T05:00:00

    The skills shortage means it is vital to recruit more women into the industry, yet the female workforce is still only 13% – so what should we be doing to encourage more women to join?

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    Ready for a game changer

    2017-09-05T10:46:00

    Construction in the UK faces some big changes and tough challenges - a CLC innovation hub can help the industry succeed

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    Export strength

    2017-07-11T11:47:00

    If the UK is to win work on overseas infrastructure megaprojects, we will have to get better at forming consortiums that offer the whole package. The newly-formed Infrastructure Exports: UK group may be able to help

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    How to get the best out of Brexit

    2017-05-10T06:00:00

    The election provides the chance to drive home key messages around areas for Brexit negotiations. If we come together, we can work for the changes we want from leaving Europe

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    Train to win

    2017-03-03T06:00:00

    The apprenticeship levy is coming, so we might as well make the best of it. And how we do that is by thinking smarter and working together to make the scheme succeed for us

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    Move on up

    2017-01-18T12:17:00

    Construction has always valued experience and ability over background and connections. But it can still do a lot more to help increase social mobility - and apprenticeships should be at the heart of our efforts

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    All together now

    2016-11-10T09:30:00

    The Farmer Review is the latest report to call for the fragmented built environment sector to embrace truly collaborative ways of working. The entire construction industry must come together if we are to fulfil our potential

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    We need to enthuse young people about vocational training

    2016-09-13T11:17:00

    If we were to do for vocational training what we did for sport over the past two decades, investing in it and enthusing young people, the skills shortage that threatens our industry would be a thing of the past

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    Why can't builders and architects work it out?

    2016-07-13T06:00:00

    Topping out ceremonies present builders with an irresistible opportunity to throw the architect off the top of the building but we need to collaborate

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    See you in the boardroom

    2016-05-18T06:00:00

    Questions remains over the government’s target of 3 million apprentices by 2020 but we owe it to generations of young (and not so young) people to change our thinking about what apprenticeships are and how we use them

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    So what do you think of it so far?

    2016-03-23T11:00:00

    Six months in and Build UK is already making a difference on illegal working, pre-qualification, payment issues, the skills shortage and apprenticeships. It’s also got different parts of the industry talking to each other

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    The Professionals

    2016-01-27T06:00:00

    In the built environment, professionalism has largely been the preserve of the consultants and designers in charge of the ‘virtual’ part of construction. But ‘real’ construction needs these values too - in spades

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    Facing an uncertain future

    2015-11-03T16:54:00

    This government’s shift into a higher gear has presented many positives for the industry but there are still question marks around apprenticeships. How can we best deliver a new generation of skilled construction workers?

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    The long and winding road

    2015-09-09T06:00:00

    Housing is now recognised as one of the small handful of public policy issues that is absolutely essential for the government - and broader society - to solve. But this is just the start…

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    The class of 2050

    2015-07-01T06:00:00

    Education is a key part of any society’s future prosperity and social cohesion. How can we create the buildings that will help our children’s children to succeed in a generation’s time?

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    The power of three

    2015-05-08T06:00:00

    City villages, city regions and buildings that are more resilient to the weather show some innovative ways in which construction is steadily improving the future of the built environment

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    Keeping resolutions

    2015-01-07T08:50:00

    This year could be a year of big changes - both political and technological. As long as we respond positively to these changes, there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic

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    Your local builder

    2014-10-09T06:00:00

    As George Osborne discusses devolving greater powers to UK cities, it’s more important than ever to build strong relationships with local decision-makers

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