ANDY Dean and Dave Lee speak to UK Construction Excellence about Building Site to Boardroom (BS2B) – a selfawareness training initiative designed to support the emotional and inner wellbeing of construction workers.
How did BS2B come about?
We met through a mutual friend some six years ago. Our early conversations focused on stories of our journey through the world of construction and with over forty shared years between us, we had a few to tell! Our other shared passion was a more personal journey into the world of selfdevelopment and how, through our search for a more balanced happier life, we found ourselves talking openly and honestly with each other. We started assisting and running workshops and training, looking at ways of creating a happier and more balanced life, and sharing the emotional tools with family, friends and work colleagues. Soon after, we began to see directives and codes of practice coming out of organisations such as the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Considerate Constructors and the Department of Health, which focused on improving wellbeing and the working environment in the construction industry. That was the light bulb moment! What we had been working on for the last five years was now being asked for by the industry and BS2B was formed.
Is the mental wellbeing of construction workers taken seriously enough?
In short, no. There is such a stigma around the word ‘mental’. If you go onsite and start talking about the ‘mental’ wellbeing of the workforce you’re more Building Site to Boardroom: Cultivating a culture of change in construction likely to have to fight your way out, and we speak from personal experience here! We soon learnt not to use the word mental. We ran a pilot scheme in a construction company for six months and found that, by using the words ’emotional and inner wellbeing’ people related and understood far better. Saying someone has emotional issues can mean that they’re sad. Saying someone has mental issues means people feel labelled!
What type of issues do construction workers typically come up against?
Bullying, racism and piss taking. A fear of getting the sack, of being singled out, and a lack of emotional support – to name a few.
How is BS2B helping those people to address their issues?
BS2B is supporting those in the construction industry with practical tools, provided through online and face-to-face training and presentations. Our Core Value Approach (CVA) introduces – in a simple way – equal dignity, personal responsibility, personal integrity and authenticity. It’s a tool box full of tips that helps to create a happier and safer working environment – all of it user friendly.
Construction Sites are often thought to be quite masculine environments. To what extent is a change in culture needed to ensure all workers are treated with dignity and respect?
A change in culture is necessary if the construction industry hopes to keep its current workforce and recruit young people into the industry. Why would people want to work in an environment that doesn’t allow for someone to be treated as an equal? We’re getting something wrong more often than not. Ridicule and belittling, being shouted at and sacked. The blame culture has had its day. It doesn’t work.
Where is the emotional support and understanding for the person on-site all the way through to the boardroom that the directives are asking for?
Stress is stress, family issues are family issues, and money worries are money worries. It doesn’t matter what your job or role is in the industry. The BS2B training and the introduction of the CVA is working to bridge the gap – giving people practical tools to help with the emotional impact of stress, family and money issues to name a few
What advice would you have for those struggling with difficult working conditions?
Take the training – it really makes a difference if you work at it, follow the steps, lay the foundations and build a happier more balanced life for yourself and others.
To provide further support to people during times of crisis, BS2B has joined forces with construction industry charity The Lighthouse Club. The charity provides a 24/7 helpline to offer advice on a range of topics from wellbeing and occupational health to financial aid in times of hardship. BS2B’s Self Awareness training is a CITB approved e-learning modular training course. As such, companies using the programme are able to claim back the purchase cost from the CITB.
For more information contact BS2B at [email protected] or visit http://bs2b.co.uk/
Construction Industry Helpline: 0845 605 1956