Members were joined at the meeting by Stephen Haynes, head of programme at Mates in Mind, an organisation established in 2017 by the Construction Leadership Group to aid construction companies in creating mentally healthy workplaces for their employees.
Mr Haynes explained: “For employees in construction, there are high levels of poor outcomes regarding mental health, with depression and anxiety being the two most common issues.”
Indeed, the Future Leaders had decided to support the charity when they discovered an alarming statistic specific to the construction industry; in a sector which is 89% male, the suicide rate among low-skilled male construction workers is 3.7 times the national average.
Mr Haynes provided the group with a thorough explanation of the activities of Mates in Mind, including its work with major companies like Balfour Beatty and Heathrow Airport Holdings, and its delivery of awareness and education courses. These sessions aim to build an understanding of mental health problems in the workplace, in partnership with other charities like Mind and Samaritans – and it is here that BESA’s Future Leaders hope to become involved.
By attending the Mates in Mind two-day Mental Health First Aid course, group members will learn to spot the signs of mental health problems and apply the training to help and support their colleagues, becoming Mental Health First Aiders within their respective organisations.
The quarterly meeting also saw members reflect on their actions and collective progress since their last meeting back in April, when BESA president Tim Hopkinson challenged the group to network and make links with industry organisations both in the UK and abroad – including Women in Construction, CIBSE Young Engineers, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Condition Engineers (ASHRAE), the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCCA), and GCP Europe, to name just a few.
The Future Leaders have risen to the challenge, with arrangements already underway for a joint clay pigeon shoot with CIBSE Young Engineers.
Group members are also continuing to work with consultancy Primeast to develop their leadership skills, while some of the Future Leaders are making an impact through the education sector. Reanna Evans, m&e project engineer at NG Bailey, is set to visit two Warrington-based schools to attend their science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) days – both as a BESA mentor and a representative of her own employer – to give pupils an insight into her work and the benefits of undertaking an apprenticeship.
It’s clear that BESA’s Future Leaders are pulling no punches following the president’s challenge to make their industry presence felt, and as their success continues to grow so too does the group’s membership, which now stands at more than 30.
To find out more or join the Future Leaders, visit www.thebesa.com/future-leaders