CQUni TAFE students hear inspiring stories and how to help out their mates in construction

01 January 2021

Apprentices and students at CQUniversity's Trade Training Centre at the Mackay Ooralea campus heard inspiring stories of courage and survival as part of a Mates In Construction led-event.

Mates in Construction Queensland is a nation-wide charity that aims to reduce the high incidence of suicide amongst construction workers. The charity visits several times a year to talk to the students about what signs to look for in their mates and how to connect them with help' if needed.

In addition to learning how to improve their mental health and look out for their mates' the students heard from keynote speaker Brant 'Bugsy' North' who lost his legs in a mining accident and later competed in the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney.

Beyond an inspirational story of resilience' the learnings and contributing factors of Brant's accident such as isolation' communication' guarding' hazard identification and change management' continue to be relevant in workplaces across Australia. To date' Brant has presented to over 10'000 workers' sharing this powerful and insightful safety message.

Certificate III in Engineering (Mechanical) Caleb Cappello said he found the suicide prevention presentation informative.

"It was easy to relate to as they were out of the industry and had personal experiences with suicide. Being younger and around some people of our ages was also helpful because we are more likely to listen to a younger person then an older person'"

he said.

"They interacted with us and involved the audience and made us think of some of the answers for some of the questions (a lot of us already new the answers). Nearly everyone here at the TAFE has been affected by suicide in one way or another."

Fellow student Nikita Richardson said the presentations were eye-opening.

"Mates in Construction' come in and talked to us about suicide and that was a real eye-opener for everyone because a lot of people didn't realize how many people had been affected by such a devastating disaster'"

she said.