Alcohol and drug use by apprentices and other young workers is a particular concern in the building industry. A young person’s transition to the workforce is a period of major change with greater independence, more money, new friends and greater access to alcohol and other drugs. Available evidence indicates that younger workers in the industry share the high alcohol consumption levels of their older colleagues, and in addition are far more likely to underestimate their drinking. High levels of alcohol and in particular drug usage associated with the workplace for this age group have been confirmed from other sources.
The Apprentice Training Program aims to improve safety, reduce drug and alcohol consumption on building sites and raise awareness of the availability of drug and alcohol referral/assessment and treatment services through the provision of education to apprentices in TAFE colleges.
The principal strategy of the Apprentice Program is the presentation of the Drug and Alcohol Safety in the Workplace Training Course, developed especially by the Program for Safety Committee members and specially modified to suit the needs of young workers. The course is implemented by the BTG Program with the co-operation of TAFE NSW, presented as part of the off-site apprenticeship induction at TAFE Colleges.
The course features a showing of the “Just Not at Work, Mate” training film (on DVD) which runs for 22 minutes and covers the identification of alcohol, drug and gambling problems, how they affect a person’s ability to work in a safe manner, and how they are dealt with using the Program’s Policy and its intervention techniques. The film also outlines the rehabilitation and treatment services available at Foundation House, the construction industry’s specialist alcohol, drug and gambling treatment centre, how they are implemented and how they can be accessed.
The course presents harm minimisation messages which are also presented on materials such as stickers, fliers, posters, etc. It promotes apprentices responsibilities for workplace safety through reducing unsafe work practices that are a consequence of alcohol and other drug use. It also presents safe drinking levels and safe drug use information as well as safe sex and HIV/AIDS related issues.
Specifically, the course provides information and /or skills in the areas of:
- the BTG Drug and Alcohol Safety and Rehabilitation Program policy
- types, patterns and harms of alcohol and other drug use within and outside the workplace
- cultural, health and occupational factors influencing alcohol and other drug use
- identifying course participants attitudes and values to alcohol and other drug use
- recognising safety problems in the workplace related to alcohol and other drug use
- responding to workers dangerously effected by alcohol or other drugs
- safe drinking levels and safe drug use messages
- HIV/AIDS related issues
- referrals and assistance for workers with alcohol and other drug problems