Read our Annual Report

On behalf of the Board and Management of The Construction Training Centre, I am pleased to present the Annual Report for 2016/2017.

 


Men’s Health Seminar – Secret Men’s Business

Research shows that men tend to visit their doctor less than women, skip annual checkups or delay getting medical help when they need it. Many men ignore symptoms that could be an indicator of cancer and other disease.

For this reason, we chose Men’s Health as the topic for the latest in CTC’s Safety Series Seminars which was held Tuesday, 28th November in the Hugh Hamilton Conference Room.

Three presenters shared their knowledge about major issues impacting on men’s health.  First up was Phil Hortz, Field Officer with Mates in Construction who shared sobering statistics about the suicide rate among Australian construction workers. Mates in Construction is a charity established in 2008 to reduce the high level of suicide among Australian construction workers. Their model uses training as a tool to raise awareness of the problem and empowers everyone can be part of the solution. Support is provided by offering clear pathways to professional help, case management processes and on-site visits by field officers.

Next up was Phil Diver, CEO of The Construction Training Centre whose talk focused on the psychological and physical impacts of stress and gave pointers on how we can become a master of stress in our lives using simple but effective techniques such as breathing exercises, mindfulness and power-posing.

Phil is available to deliver this insightful talk in your organisation. Just contact us to arrange.

Our keynote speaker was Dr Tariq Ali from SMG Health. Dr Ali is a highly respected medical practitioner and dentist who recently immigrated to Australia from the U.K. He focused on the vital information men need to know about managing their health.

He said men are less likely to admit to experiencing emotional stress or to visit a GP without being prompted. They are more likely to remain in denial about their health, eat processed foods, exercise less, drink alcohol in excess, smoke, use illicit drugs and engage in other risky behaviours.

Dr Ali focused on the main issues for men, starting with cardiovascular disease and the “deadly quartet” of diabetes, hypertension, obesity and dyslipidemia (the abnormally elevated cholesterol or fats (lipids) in the blood).

He noted that the impact of diabetes is often underestimated. People know that diabetes is a disease of abnormal carbohydrate metabolism, characterised by hyperglycaemia but they may not be aware of other effects such as increased susceptibility to infections, poor wound healing, peripheral nerve damage, microvascular damage and ultimately end organ damage.

He discussed the merits of adopting a Mediterranean diet and exercising regularly to manage weight and prevent lifestyle diseases.

Cancers that affect men include bowel, prostate, testicular, skin and lung cancer.  1 in 3 Australian men will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 75.  It is important that men visit their GP when they notice something unusual because it might be an indicator of cancer. They should also schedule regular cancer screening tests.

Dr Ali finished by using the analogy of motor vehicle maintenance and your health.  Some people, when they notice something wrong with their car,will immediately take it into their motor mechanic for repair, while others wait and then the problem becomes expensive to fix.  The same can be said for your health.  He said if men invested in their “Health Superannuation” they had more chance of living longer. Key areas of investment are:

  • Cardio-respiratory reserve
  • Hepatorenal reserve
  • Core muscle strength
  • Bone mineral density and carriable muscle mass
  • Mental agility (learning skills in later life)
  • Stress (easing off the accelerator)
  • Good social network
  • Good dental and skin health

To hear more, click on the link to our podcast where you’ll hear Dr Tariq Ali and Phil Diver discussing the key issues around men’s health. Men’s Health Podcast with Dr Tariq Ali.


CTC leads the way with its Mental Health & Well-being Initiatives

It’s Mental Health Week which gives us an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of mental health and well-being in the workplace. CTC recognises it has a leadership role in advocating best practice and innovation in well-being to our tenants and our stakeholders.

Mental health is a very important concern for those running organisations. Under workplace health and safety legislation employers have a statutory duty to ensure that their workplaces do not cause mental health issues. Employee Assistance schemes are one thing, but in terms of duty of care, employers will be asked to demonstrate that they have a culture that encourages both physical and mental well-being.

Listed below are some examples of how CTC supports good mental health on our precinct to both our staff, and also those of our tenants.

  • Leave

Taking regular leave is paramount to health and safety as well as well-being. In addition to statutory requirements, CTC provides two days additional “well-being leave” per annum. Recognising the adage “the more we give, the happier we feel”, CTC staff may take an additional two days leave per annum to volunteer for a registered charity.

  • Breaks

Regular breaks outside of lunch can be beneficial to workplace productivity. A worker who has had a sleepless night because of a young baby in the house can be a safety hazard at work. CTC staff may take a sleep break of up to 20 minutes duration per day in our “5R’s” Room.

  • 5R’s Room

CTC provides a room where research, reading, rest and quiet reflection can take place. This doubles as a meditation room, contains our Well-being Library and is a rest zone. The 5R’s Room is available to both our staff and those of our tenants.

  • Mindfulness

CTC staff are provided with the opportunity to learn mindfulness and meditation training is provided to all staff.  Those using the 5R’s room for meditation may take up to ten minutes break without the need to pay back this time.

  • 24/7 Gym

There is a now a great body of research that says exercise is good for mental health. CTC has a fully equipped gym that is available to all workers whether they are employed by CTC itself or a tenant. For a minimal joining fee (currently set at $60 per annum), workers can access the gym 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Employee Assistance Program

CTC provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for use by CTC staff members and their immediate family. This cost is met by CTC for up to 3 consultations per year.

  • Lifestyle Bonus

Having a good work-life balance is essential to physical and mental well-being. The provision of a workplace ‘bonus’ worth $500 per annum is one way that CTC advocates creating a healthy balance. In summary CTC will reimburse up to half the expenditure incurred by a staff member in purchasing movie or theatre tickets, holidays, family entertainment, massage etc.

For more information about CTC’s worker health and well-being initiatives, visit our dedicated website www.buildfitness.me.


Safety Seminar about Preventing Heat Stress

Working in hot and/or humid environments is not only uncomfortable, it can also result in heat-related illness, which can be fatal. Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable, but it’s important to identify the warning signs and to react swiftly and appropriately when they arise.

For this reason, managing heat was chosen as the topic for CTC’s latest Safety Seminar held on Wednesday, 30th August in Hot Leasing.

First up was Zach du Preez, A/Principal Advisor – Occupational Hygiene – Workplace Health & Safety Queensland who explained how to identify and assess the risk of heat stress. It is important to consider:-

  • What are the workplace conditions?  Consider humidity, surface temperatures, exposure period, reflective surfaces, hot plant etc.
  • What are the job requirements?  How complex, how heavy is the work, how regular are the breaks, are there shady areas, what are the PPE requirements?
  • What are the individual worker attributes?  Are they used to this type of work?  Do they have a pre-existing medical condition?  Would they know the signs of heat stress?

Workplace Health & Safety Queensland have an on-line tool to assist in identifying and assessing the risk of heat stress Heat Stress Basic Calculator Test.  Control measures must be implemented when the risk of a heat related illness is assessed as high. For more information from Workplace Health & Safety Queensland about managing heat exposure, visit their website.

Zach finished with a scenario about a worker who suffered the affects of heat stress.  He mentioned how the symptoms of heat stress can easily be confused with those of a heart attack. In the last 5 years, there have been over 200 reported incidents of heat stress, 22 of which resulted in serious injury or death.

The second presenter was Di A-Izzeddin, Operations Manager & Director of 4cRisk Pty Ltd. 4cRisk has developed a program to help identify and manage heat related risks. Like the previous speaker, Di stressed the importance of considering environmental and physiological aspects in addition to air temperature when managing the risk of heat stress.

Engineering controls can include fans, thermal blanketing etc. Physiological controls could include educating workers to drink sufficient fluids to stay adequately hydrated. There are tools available to measure hydration levels. Making electrolyte replacements available is a good control measure. Our bodies are designed to regulate heat, but other factors can make it difficult to maintain a safe temperature (as described above).

To finish, Di stressed the importance of workplaces implementing a robust program that takes into consideration all factors that contribute to heat related illness.

The final presentation was a practical demonstration from Charmaine Streeter and Tracy McLean from Queensland Health’s Clinical Skills Development Service.  Using “volunteers” from the audience, they demonstrated how to identify the signs and symptoms and apply first aid for the 3 levels of heat-related illness.

  • Heat cramps
    • Signs/symptoms – painful muscle cramps and spasms usually in legs and abdomen, heavy sweating
    • Treatment – Move to cooler place, apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or gently massage to relieve spasm; give sips of water unless the person complains of nausea, then stop giving water.
  • Heat exhaustion
    • Signs/symptoms – faint or dizzy, excessive sweating, cool pale clammy skin, nausea or vomiting, rapid, weak pulse, muscle cramps
    • Treatment – Get to cooler air conditioned place, lie down, loosen clothing, cool by fanning, drink water if fully conscious, take a cool shower or use cold compresses.
  • Heat stroke
    • Signs/symptoms – throbbing headache, no sweating, body temperature above 40 degrees C, red hot dry skin, nausea or vomiting, rapid strong pulse, may lose consciousness.
    • Treatment – Emergency – call 000. Take immediate action to cool the person until help arrives.

We were grateful for the support of Allens Industrial Products, Paramount Safety, CBus and QLeave who provided displays at the seminar.

For more information about CTC’s Safety Series Seminars contact us. Our next seminar is scheduled for Wednesday, 22nd November 2017 and will focus on Elevated Work Platform safety.


That’s Not Just Good … It’s Super!

We did something extraordinary recently (even if we say so ourselves). It wasn’t easy and it has generated some polarised views. We had to go to ‘court’ for the right to do it and it required a State Commission to pass judgment on it. It went to the basis of what we really mean by equity. We decided to pay our female staff more superannuation than their male counterparts – a further 1% of their salary to be precise.

On the face of it this is discrimination in its own right which is why we required clearance from both the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) and the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland.

So why do it? Well I believe it’s the right thing to do. There is an argument by some that the pay differential doesn’t really exist because men and women are generally paid the same for the same job. The broader consideration of this is that women, in general, have considerable time away from the workplace either in the form of maternity and/or carers leave, or returning as part-time or casual workers. Coupled with this, women are over-represented in low paid and part-time/casual work.

The ability therefore for women to accrue sufficient superannuation to secure a comfortable retirement is placed in jeopardy as a result. Compounding the equity impact is the reality that time away from the workplace affects promotion potential.

Working outside the system means the grip on networks, the prevailing political landscape and knowledge of potential opportunities is compromised.

We know from research that the informal system is the exoskeleton through which upward progress is made in business. If you are not on the inside you are by default on the outside. The route to seniority or partner is made so much harder, especially when returning from having a baby and having to balance competing demands (skills borne out of necessity, by the way, that are of huge value in the corporate world).

So if you are a believer in gender equity in the workplace and want to do something substantial about it, consider levelling the playing field by paying your female staff more superannuation. They will return this appreciation of their contribution in the workplace in ways that far out-weigh the additional cost.

If you are a small corporation and think this is only possible in the large corporate world think again. We are a small to medium enterprise. We value the contribution of our female team members every bit as much as we do our men. To do so in a meaningful and authentic way is what counts. I can’t think of a more robust endorsement of the importance of equity in the workplace than assisting women to return to work in the most flexible manner possible and making-up in some small way for lost time out of the labour market.

Not all agree of course. When we commenced our differential superannuation contributions this April we became the third company in Australia to do so. It’s an important issue. The Australian Human Rights Commission thinks so and so do we. Wouldn’t it be super if this became standard business practice?


Trading Up

You have bounced out of bed before the alarm; the excitement of new horizons is greater than your need for sleep. You are ready. More ready for this than anything you have ever done before. It’s finally here. The day you start studying the Degree or Apprenticeship of your dreams.

You have survived the endless advice from your family, friends, teachers, and mentors. If you are heading to university it may be that people are questioning your choice of degree or university.

However, announcing that “I’m doing an Apprenticeship”, is often interpreted by the listener as “I’d like to be interrogated about why I’m not going to university”. For those of you smiling at that comment- read on!

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)1 in 2016 found that 77.6 per cent of apprentices and trainee graduates were employed after completion of their studies. For university graduates in 20152, measured in the four months post degree completion, only 68.8 per cent had found employment3.

According to the website Trade Risk4 the highest paid tradespeople in 2016 were those in the electrical field, earning on average $85,000.00. According to the website PayScale5, as at October 2016, the average wage for a Civil Engineer is $71,395.00.

Considering the higher rates of employment for apprentices, the ability to earn while they learn and not having to pay study fees, is an apprenticeship really that bad?

You can study at university, incur a large student debt, have a lower chance of finding employment and, when you do find employment, the wages you hoped for won’t be realised for quite some time. Or, you could follow your dream of getting a trade, earn a wage while learning your trade, have a better chance of finding employment and have a higher earning potential than your university counterparts.

The message here is not that apprenticeships are better than degrees. The message is that you should follow your passion. Research your options and choose the one that gets you bouncing out of bed every morning. Don’t make a choice on perceived financial rewards and employment prospects. Things are not always what they seem.

  1. https://www.ncver.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/62143/Total-VET-graduate-outcomes-2016.pdf
  2. Data for 2016 is not yet available
  3. http://www.graduatecareers.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/GCA_GradStats_2015_FINAL.pdf
  4. https://www.traderisk.com.au/how-much-do-tradies-earn
  5. http://www.payscale.com/research/AU/Job=Attorney_%2f_Lawyer/Salary

All websites accessed on 6th February 2017.


CTC’s Launches the “4R’s Room” – A Place to Read, Research, Rest & Reflect!

CTC has launched a room which is available to all workers at the precinct where research, reading, rest and quiet reflection can take place in a private, quiet environment free from the stresses of the office or training room.  Located next to the Build Fitness Gym on Level 1 of the Ian Barclay Building, the 4R’s Room doubles as a meditation room, a rest zone and also contains our library of well-being and management books.

We live in a fast-paced world, particularly the world of business, where 24/7 connectivity has fast become the norm. Workers are meant to be problem-solving and helping to grow our enterprises in a socially and environmentally responsible way throwing in lashings of creativity as they do so.

For many this occasions the sort of negative stress not conducive to positive physical or mental health. Management researchers and leading-edge managers now recognize that workplace wellness (as opposed to the previous overwhelming concentration on safety) is a key issue in managing people in the 21st Century.

What the 4Rs concept does is provide a quiet place where mental and ‘spiritual’ development can happen alongside the physical component which is addressed next door in the Buildfitness 24/7 gym. CTC has already conducted Precinct-wide mindfulness training and the 4Rs room is an ideal location for some meditation or quiet reflection associated with mindfulness. The research on the benefits of mindfulness and meditative practice in the workplace is now without question.

Often we get so embroiled in the minutiae of our jobs that we fail to look up to take a more critical or lateral perspective. In an age of ‘data’ staff often make decisions and take actions based on feelings or their “vain brain” without a good theoretical or research-based underpinning. Some will cite many years of experience as the basis upon which decisions are made. This does not enable effective decision-making. Many take decisions with little or no sound under-pinning because of the fast environment in which they find themselves. Indeed many managers are still not across EQ and neuroscience which can explain poor decisions based on unconscious bias or the “deceitful brain”.

To this end a library of management textbooks and latest journals are available in the 4Rs Room to enable staff and managers to browse or borrow to improve their understanding of the art and science of management. The 4Rs room provides a quiet space to read these texts. CTC subscribes to many journals as a feature of the range of activities we undertake and these are made available to borrow for the benefit of the whole Precinct.

A full catalogue of publications is available via the Build Fitness website by clicking here: 4Rs Room Library Catalogue. Synopses of some of the books have been prepared which can be accessed by clicking here: Advancement Library Synopses.

Visitors to the 4R’s room can borrow a book for up to 2 weeks by simply completing the register which is kept on the book shelf.  Journals are meant to be browsed in the 4R’s Room.


CTC’s “Whole-hearted-you” is award-winning!

CTC was recognised at the 2016 Queensland Safe Work & Return to Work Awards at a gala breakfast on 18th October winning the Best workplace & wellbeing initiative for its “Whole-hearted-you” program.

CTC’s health and well-being initiative known as “Whole-hearted-you” was developed to assist our own staff and enable tenants to provide programs to improve the health and well-being of their staff. CTC’s 30+ tenants are mostly small business operators who don’t have the wherewithal to provide such opportunities to their staff. This allows not only CTC staff to benefit from the programs we have initiated but also provides tenant’s employees the opportunity to participate in initiatives generally only available to the ‘bigger end of town’  because they can be expensive and time-consuming to run.

A lot of thought was put into the concept that underlies “Whole-hearted-you” – wanting to focus on the whole person and not only the physical aspect. “Whole-hearted you” includes five elements: mind, body, soul, self and heart. When all five are in balance there is the prospect of wholeheartedness.

The strapline “Whole-hearted-you” was created to embrace this philosophy. Activities offered to support our tenant workers to live and function at their best include:

To increase physical activity:
A fully equipped onsite gymnasium that is available 24/7 to eligible tenant staff – annual membership $60
Free weekly group fitness sessions led by a qualified fitness instructor
Free weekly boxing fit sessions led by a qualified fitness instructor
Showers, lockers, bicycle racks to encourage physical activity

To maintain a healthy weight:
Free Bioscan body measurements
Free Friday Blood Pressure checks
Scales provided in the gym

To improve social and emotional wellbeing:
Dedicated website/social media presence featuring healthy lifestyle tips, recipes, advice and encouragement
Onsite Mindfulness training paid for by CTC
Dedicated meditation room
Free seated massages available to tenant staff
Extensive lending library of health and lifestyle books and magazines
Monthly lunchtime lectures on range of management and wellbeing topics
Employee Assistance Program – CTC staff only

To eat healthier:
On-site café with healthy food options
Kilojoule calculations (done by nutritionist) displayed for all food sold by café

To quit smoking:
FLiCK-OFF – quit smoking program in conjunction with QuitLine.

To stay healthy:
Free annual skin, flu jabs and hearing tests
Sun Smart stations providing free sunscreen and application advice

To find out more about “Whole-hearted-you”, visit our website www.buildfitness.me.


Safety Series Seminar focuses on Preventing Workplace Injuries

The latest in CTC’s Safety Series Seminars was held on Wednesday, 24th August. The focus for this seminar was to highlight how to avoid workplace injuries and how WorkCover Queensland can work with employers to reduce the impact on injured staff.

The seminar coincided with Tradies National Health Month which aims to raise awareness of the risks posed to those who work in trade occupations. Tradies National Health Month is an initiative of the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) and we were fortunate to have Marina Vitale representing their organisation as a guest speaker. She was joined by Gabrielle Turner, Ashleigh Quilty & Troy Mewburn, Customer Advisors with WorkCover Queensland.

Marina said statistics from WorkCover Queensland reveal that muscular skeletal injuries account for 42% of reported injuries and of these, 33% are back injuries. While we all age, the state that our bodies are in, combined with accumulated injuries incurred every day for years, impacts the nature of workplace injuries.

Factors that are important for managing injury risk include:

  • Where you work
  • Manual task risk
  • What you do
  • How you work

Tools workers can use to prevent injury include:

  • Weight management
  • Quit smoking
  • Drink sufficient water
  • Sleep and eat well
  • Manage health conditions

Employers should use prevention tools such as:

  • Encouraging employees to report niggles early
  • Walk the talk – lead by action and example
  • Refer to the Hazardous Manual Task Code of Practice 2011
  • Review SOP’s – how things are done should be aligned with the Code
  • Conduct ergonomic analysis
  • Use PErforM – a collaborative approach to manage task risk in the workplace (the regulator promotes training in this area)
  • Train supervisors specifically on return to work and muscular skeletal anatomy
  • Proactively manage older worker issues
  • Offer early intervention services
  • Utilise Job Access and Job in Jeopardy programs (these are Commonwealth funded programs lasting 6 months providing access to an exercise physiologist and GP care through Centrelink)

Physiotherapists can assist by:

  • Improving health and wellness
  • Conduct worksite visits
  • Demonstrating exercises for improving balance/pelvic floor – important part of core strength
  • Providing functional capacity evaluations
  • Conducting fitness for work assessments
  • Conducting pre-employment assessments
  • Providing Suitable Duties and Return to Work services.

Workers can manage muscular skeletal discomfort by:

  • Avoiding overreaching
  • Using mechanical assistance where possible
  • Maintaining tools – keep these sharp etc. so no pushing required
  • Be conscious of hand tool design
  • Keeping neutral positions for power and stability
  • Avoiding awkward postures
  • Avoiding ill fitting shoes

The following factors which affect worker recovery rates:

  • Not reporting early
  • Not receiving treatment early
  • Not receiving the correct treatment
  • Inappropriate duties being assigned on return to work

Marina finished her presentation by demonstrating some stretches that can be incorporated into the workplace.

Gabrielle Turner, Ashleigh Quilty & Troy Mewburn (Customer Advisors) then spoke about how WorkCover Queensland can  help business by identifying trends, assisting with the return to work process, injury prevention management (IPaM), information campaigns and access to industry resources.

The construction industry had 9,620 claims costing $116 million and required 35 days off work on average  – 42% of these were muscular-skeletal 33% were classified as lacerations and burns. Consulting Workcover Queensland to promote a safe work environment can result in lower injuries and reduced premiums.

Potential flags that claims are escalating:

  • Claimants not engaging with the business
  • Focussing on pain rather than using positive language
  • Poor support network
  • Claimants becoming withdrawn from social activities
  • Longer recoveries
  • Struggling with performance

Proactive employers display the following:

  • Early return to work from claimants
  • Keep in contact with the claimant
  • Invite claimants to work social functions
  • Educate employees on the return to work process
  • Have employee assistance programs (counselling) available
  • Ensure claimant’s colleagues are aware of their alternative duties

To find out more about CTC’s Safety Series Seminars, call us on 07 3216 6711 or visit our website.


Committee formed to fund-raise for charity

Recently, a number of people raised the idea of forming a committee, with representation from various CTC tenants, that would organise precinct-wide fundraising events. We thought this was a great idea and consequently agreed to sponsor a fundraising/social committee to make it happen.

Staff from three tenants immediately signed up – and with Lynn from CTC, began planning their first event – a fundraiser for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. This cause was suggested by and close to the heart of Germana (from WH&S More Skills).Brain cancer campaign

This first fundraiser will be in the form of a sausage sizzle where we’ll be firing up the barbie, and also selling donuts, beanies and other promotional items to raise money for brain cancer research. Not just for one day, but every day during the week of 15th – 19th August.

Around 1600 people are diagnosed with brain cancer in Australia annually and approximately 1200 die from the disease every year.  Brain cancer kills more children in Australia than any other disease and more people under 40 than any other cancer.

We think this is a great cause to support and hope there’ll be plenty of CTC workers and students buying a sausage, donut or beanie.

  • Where:  Outside Hot Leasing area (Building 3/4)
  • When:  10:00 – 11:00 am
  • Dates:  Monday, 15th – Friday, 19th August
  • Prices:  Sausage in bread – $2; Donuts – $1; Beanies $5

A big thank you to committee members Germana from WH&S More Skills, Kylie from Lifting Skills, Maria from ASG Integracom and Lynn from CTC . To find out more about CTC’s fundraising committee or to get involved, contact Lynn at bookings@ctc.qld.edu.au.

To learn more more about the work of the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, visit their website: Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.