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‘Australia’s Largest Funky Shirt Friday’ to Tackle Mental Health Crisis in Construction

proudly wear their funkiest workwear in partnership with social impact PPE brand TradeMutt
Thousands of construction workers get funky for mental health

Thousands of construction workers across Australia’s biggest infrastructure projects are rocking up to work today wearing funky PPE shirts or workwear and are attending BBQs and morning teas to raise awareness for mental health.

CPB Contractors Partners with TradeMutt in a Mental Health Initiative

Australia’s largest construction company, CPB Contractors, is shining a light on mental health today by encouraging thousands of workers across its 60+ projects nationally to proudly wear their funkiest workwear in partnership with social impact PPE brand TradeMutt.

Addressing Mental Health in the Construction Industry

This is the first campaign of this scale and is responding to an industry-wide mental health problem, calling for workers across all sectors of construction and trades to speak up, check in with each other and have their workmate’s backs. With more than 200 workers lost to suicide annually in the Australian construction industry, we are tackling the issue head-on by collaborating with TradeMutt to design a custom PPE workwear titled, “Building Connections.”

The Scale of Australia’s Construction Workforce

The construction industry is Australia’s largest employer, with 44% of all workers* aged 15-44 employed in the workforce, equating to over 1,000,000 full-time workers (1.18 million in 2022 and expected to reach 1.26 million in 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.

CPB Contractors’ Commitment to Mental Health

CPB Contractors Executive General Manager of People and Culture, Sarah O’Neill, said: “Safety is our highest priority at CPB Contractors, and a person’s mental and emotional health and wellbeing is as important as their physical safety, particularly when working on a major job site. 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 have 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.”

The Founding of TradeMutt and Its Mission

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

TradeMutt’s Impact and Services

In 2020, TradeMutt launched TIACS, a free mental health counselling service for the blue-collar workforce to access online, via text or phone, and by using the QR code sewn into every TradeMutt shirt pocket. 50% of all TradeMutt profit goes to TIACS to support funding the mental health counselling services. Since its launch, TIACS has grown to support 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.

The Importance of Funky Shirt Friday

“It’s been incredibly humbling to have Australia’s largest construction company throw so much support behind a movement to get our industry talking. 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,” Dan Allen said.

Mental Health Advocacy and Training at 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, and 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 to raise even greater awareness and advocacy for the cause.

Engaging the Community and Encouraging Support

“Unfortunately, too many people are struggling with their own mental health and emotional well-being challenges every day so active engagement is paramount to maintaining an ongoing conversation, reminding everyone that it’s ok to not be ok, but it’s not ok to not speak up. While not everyone has access to loud and funky PPE workwear, we’re encouraging all workers and their families to get involved, take a pic of them or their mate enjoying Australia’s Largest Funky Shirt Friday, and we’re giving away a Fitbit to the first 350 people working across our sites who snap a pic and share it on Instagram, tagging @CPBContractors and @TradeMutt,” said Sarah O’Neill.