Mates in Manufacturing

Posted on 04/10/2018 by Melanie Gettins

On Thursday 13th September Tumu Timbers proudly hosted Annette Beautrais who presented the Mates in Construction programme to employees at our site for a third year in a row. The Mates in Construction programme was developed in Australia to target suicide prevention in the construction industry. As Tumu Timbers are a Manufacturing business, we have renamed the programme to Mates in Manufacturing for our own reference purposes.
The programme consists of three tiers; General Awareness Training (GAT) which is a one hour session and delivered to everyone on site. This GAT introduces all employees to Suicide awareness and includes some staggering statistics, especially including working aged men. It equips the employees with some practical guidance in how to look out for one another in regards to changes in peoples behaviours, dropping hints that they are considering Suicide and the some indication of what to do next should they require further support.
The second tier of training is Connector training. We accept volunteers for Connector training following the GAT at the same time ensuring we have adequate coverage across different departments and shifts.
Connectors are equipped with tools so in a crisis they can keep someone safe. This also allows an outlet for any of our employees to go to if they recognise changes in someone else or if they are needing assistance themselves.
The connector’s main goal is to be trusted and connect the individual to professional help. We have approx. 20% of our employees trained as Connectors.
The third level of training is ASIST training which is comparable to the first aid officer on site. The training teaches skills to ensure the ASIST worker is competent to listen and talk through a person’s concerns with the object of agreeing on a ‘safe plan’ for the person.

We choose to make this training opportunity mandatory for everyone on site, because of this, all of our employees are paid as normal in order to attend this training. We believe that we are not only making our site a safer place through this training but we are also equipping more of our community with additional knowledge to assist them in any future situations. We host Annette annually to ensure we can capture all new employees and also host refresher sessions for current employees to ensure their training stays up to date.
This year’s training day intentionally coincided during the same week as World Suicide Prevention Day 2018 which was Monday 10th September 2018.
We also managed to coincide the training to ensure some of our Tumu Group Managers from other sites were able to attend (incl. Tumu ITM stores & Permapine) which was a great opportunity to increase awareness of the opportunity out there in terms of this useful programme.

On a positive we have had some great feedback with positive results both in the workplace and in the community where staff felt confident in using the tools taught at the training.


Mates in Construction

Annette Beautrais