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CPB Contractors and TradeMutt partner for mental health

In collaboration with the social impact PPE brand TradeMutt, CPB Contractors has launched a vital campaign to foster mental health awareness.

In collaboration with the social impact PPE brand TradeMutt, CPB Contractors has launched a vital campaign to foster mental health awareness.

On 23 February 2024, the construction powerhouse mobilised its extensive workforce, spread across 60 projects nationwide, to proudly showcase their most vibrant workwear. From Sydney to Dubbo, Port Hedland to Townsville, and all the way to Melbourne and McLaren Vale, CPB Contractors’ team members wore funky PPE shirts and work attire. They gathered for barbeques and morning teas, united in the mission to raise awareness for mental health.

This is the first campaign of this scale, responding to a pervasive mental health issue within the industry. It urges workers across all sectors of construction and trades to speak up, check in with one another and support their colleagues. With more than 200 workers lost to suicide annually in the Australian construction industry, CPB Contractors is tackling the issue head on by collaborating with TradeMutt to design a custom PPE workwear line titled, “Building Connections”.

Members of CPB Contractors’ Port Hedland team on Australia’s Largest Funky Shirt Friday. (Image: CPB Contractors.)
Members of CPB Contractors’ Port Hedland team on Australia’s Largest Funky Shirt Friday. (Image: CPB Contractors.)

Australia’s construction industry stands as the country’s largest employer, encompassing a significant 44 per cent of all workers aged 15-44, as indicated by the Australian Constructors Association’s Nailing Construction Productivity report, 2023. This translates to a workforce of over one million full-time employees. A Statista survey reported 1.18 million workers in the Australian construction industry in 2022, a figure anticipated to climb to 1.26 million by 2025.

As work ramps up across the country this year, CPB Contractors and TradeMutt are committed to ensuring the safety message around mental health and wellbeing is at the forefront of all workers and business leaders.

Sarah O’Neill, executive general manager of people and culture at CPB Contractors, underscored the company’s unwavering commitment to safety. She highlighted that mental and emotional wellbeing are deemed equally significant as physical safety, particularly given the demand of major jobsites.

“With access to more workers than any other contractor, we are incredibly focused on raising awareness of this topic, which is why, together with TradeMutt, we launched Australia’s Largest Funky Shirt Friday to spark a conversation, in the hopes we can drive positive cultural change at CPB Contractors and the wider industry,” said O’Neill.

Founded in 2018 by Queensland mates Dan Allen and Ed Ross, TradeMutt creates eye-catching retail workwear emblazoned with the message on the back, “This Is A Conversation Starter,” designed to prompt connection and conversation to break down barriers and support mental health.

In 2020, TradeMutt launched TIACS, a free mental health counselling service for the blue-collar workforce accessible online, via text or phone, and by using the QR code sewn into every TradeMutt shirt pocket. TradeMutt donates 50 per cent of all profits to TIACS, helping fund the mental health counselling services. Since its launch, TIACS has supported over 18,230 individuals across 17,800 hours of conversations, giving back over $2.9 million worth of free services to the Australian blue-collar workforce.

“It’s been incredibly humbling to have Australia’s largest construction company throw so much support behind a movement to get our industry talking,” said Allan. “In our world, every Friday is Funky Shirt Friday but with a commitment like this from CPB Contractors, it allows us to spread our message and continue to drive a much-needed shift in culture for an entire industry.”

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CPB Contractors and TradeMutt partner for mental health
Members of CPB Contractors’ Nepean Hospital project team on Australia’s Largest Funky Shirt Friday. (Image: CPB Contractors)

Australia’s Largest Funky Shirt Friday is one step towards breaking down barriers and removing stigmas associated with speaking up and asking for support. These bold and bright shirts will be worn year-round to remind people that help is only a conversation away. With more than 120 Mental Health Champions, Mental Health First Aiders and Mates in Construction employees across the business, CPB Contractors is also encouraging employees to take part in mental health training courses for greater awareness and advocacy for the cause.

“Unfortunately, too many people are struggling with their own mental health and emotional wellbeing challenges every day and so active engagement is paramount to maintaining an ongoing conversation, reminding everyone that it’s okay to not be okay, but it’s not okay to not speak up,” said O’Neill. “While not everyone has access to loud and funky PPE workwear, we encouraged all workers and their families to get involved, take a pic of them or their mate enjoying Australia’s Largest Funky Shirt Friday, tagging @CPBContractors and @TradeMutt.”

Hundreds of posts went live across the country in celebration of Australia’s Largest Funky Shirt Friday, ensuring the industry received the message that it’s okay to not be okay, but free help is just a phone call or a text message away.

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