Programme builds better mental health and stronger teams

Every industry has its mental health challenges, and construction is no different. BCITO, Te Pūkenga is keen to support people across the sector by helping employers have the right conversations with their teams and develop strategies to help workers stay healthy.

Earlier this year, BCITO, Te Pūkenga contacted companies to see if they would be interested in trying the GoodYarn Programme, aimed at normalising conversations about mental health, as well as helping everyone feel comfortable and included in the workplace.

The programme nominates people in an organisation to become facilitators, and – equips them with the skills and resources to implement strategies to deliver within their workplace and champion change from the top down.

Blenheim-based painting company Construction Coatings Limited (CCL), was one of those organisations who took part in the successful pilot.

Ian Hunter is a manager at CCL and needed no convincing about the merits of a more inclusive workplace – particularly for the female apprentices the programme was initially intended to support.

“I come from a diverse background and have never really worked in an “all bloke environment” — this comes from having spent 20 years in the global film and television industry, time as the owner/operator of a catering business and two restaurants, together with 14 years in the wine industry,” he says.

“One thing I have carried forward with me is how to communicate with different personalities, recognising that everyone requires a slightly different approach.”

So, for Ian and his team, a big plus was being able to adapt the GoodYarn programme to his own team. CCL had already been working on its own policies in mental health and Diversity and Inclusion, which the GoodYarn programme complimented perfectly.

Besides learning more about recognising symptoms of poor mental health, Ian believes the programme has helped in the way he interacts with those around him.

“For those who have been in the industry for a while, you know the peer pressure and old school bullying that can happen out on work sites. This can generate a lot of pressure – particularly if you’re a new apprentice trying to do your best. At the same time, those in senior positions are not immune from experiencing this too,” Ian says.

“I found the programme useful to identify the types of harmful behaviours we as a business want to cut out – such as the male chest puffing – and it also just reinforces the importance of respecting one another.”

In March CCL built on this further by providing all staff – from senior managers right through to apprentices – with the ability to access a fully funded, confidential counselling service.

Ian looks forward to introducing the GoodYarn programme to more businesses and seeing them benefit from the same knowledge.

“Very rarely do you see successful businesses where everyone thinks the same. That’s just not how things work, and this programme encourages you to see things from a different point of view,” he says.

To learn more about the GoodYarn Programme and get involved, contact your local BCITO training advisor.

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