Better mental health to help apprentices and construction industry
The blueprint for better mental health in the construction industry as well as other Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ) funded projects will be launched by MATES in Construction today.
MATES in Construction chief executive Jorgen Gullestrup said it’s both progressive and smart of CSQ to recognise the impact suicide and mental health have on retaining current skills in the construction industry as well as attracting new workers.
“The construction industry faces the sad reality that we have among the highest suicide rates of any industry in Australia. Across the country we lose a construction worker to suicide every second day – more than 190 per year. In Queensland alone, it is more than 45 per year,” he says.
Minister for Training and Skills Development, the Hon. Shannon Fentiman launched the MATES in Construction blueprint for better mental health and suicide prevention at Parliament house today.
“As part of the blueprint, CSQ is providing vital funding of more than $700,000 towards the implementation of the new MATES Awareness Training for small worksites with fewer than 12 workers,” she says.
The funding that CSQ is providing will include the expansion of current suicide prevention and mental health programs in the construction industry; business support in creating mentally healthier workplaces through the blueprint for better mental health; the development of a new program focusing on reducing the impact of bullying and anxiety amongst apprentices and targeting small business with less than 12 workers on site.
CSQ chief executive Brett Schimming says CSQ is committed to continuing to support programs and initiatives that work to decrease suicide rates in the Queensland building and construction industry.
“CSQ places great importance on supporting the health and wellbeing of workers in the Queensland building and construction industry and support the work that MATES in Construction does to help in this space,” Brett says.
“Improving mental health is an important part of making sure that skills obtained by construction workers in Queensland are retained in the industry and used as efficiently as possible. We need to ensure the building and construction industry represents a sustainable and safe workplace which attracts and keeps workers on their career pathways through the industry,” he says.
Young workers have higher risk of suicide than other workers in the industry and younger men in Australia generally. Research shows that apprentices in the industry experienced significant bullying and often felt poorly supervised.