In 2006 the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) produced a report highlighting that suicide was 2.38 times higher amongst young workers in the Queensland construction industry. This finding has been validated by research by Deakin University in 2016 and 2017.

MATES in Construction has provided life skills training to Queensland apprentices since 2008. In 2017 MATES in Construction was funded by Construction Skills Queensland to conduct a review of the Life Skills Toolbox to ensure it met the needs of Queensland apprentices.

MATES in Construction commissioned AISRAP to conduct a number of focus groups with apprentices to discover what they felt their needs were. The research overwhelmingly pointed to bullying, supervision, anxiety with changing workplaces and job security and feeling powerless as significant to the poor mental health of apprentices.

In 2018 MATES in Construction, with support from Construction Skills Queensland, the Office of Industrial Relations and the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training, commissioned AISRAP to do a major study of mental health amongst Queensland apprentices.

The final report based on research of 1483 Queensland apprentices is now public. To view the full report please click below.

The report makes 8 clear recommendations for improvements. MATES in Construction would like your feedback on these recommendations. Please provide your feedback using the online form below or email directly to Jorgen Gullestrup –

View the full report here

Apprentice Report Feedback

Please complete this form to provide MATES with your feedback on the Apprentice Report Recommendations.

Recommendation 1

Development and evaluation of an industry-wide onsite intervention program focusing on supervisors, trade workers and apprentices to raise awareness of bullying as an issue and highlight the negative consequences of bullying in the industry.

Recommendation 2

Maintain and expand access to support for apprentices experiencing poor mental health and suicide risk to third party providers such as MATES in Construction.

Recommendation 3

Inclusion of resilience training for apprentices with specific focus on financial management, alcohol and other drugs awareness, suicide and mental health literacy, and workplace rights.

Recommendation 4

Further investigation into the vulnerable position of apprentices experiencing bullying, and in particular, understanding the experiences of apprentices who have been bullied and are unemployed. This investigation should include departmental supervision of apprentices, employment security and conflict management between employers and apprentices.

Recommendation 5

Examination into how various industry, safety and employment regulators impact on bullying, psychological distress and suicidality of apprentices. Specifically, how the relevant agencies may support an apprentice experiencing bullying and a poor psycho-social work environment. These should include but not be limited to:

• Division of Workplace Health and Safety

• Department of Employment, Small Business and Training

• The Queensland Training Ombudsman

• Queensland Building and Construction Commission

• Fairwork Australia

Recommendation 6

Undertake an investigation into the potential benefits of structured industry-based apprentice mentor and support programs such as those offered by several trade unions and employer associations in the industry.

Recommendation 7

Conduct further research exploring the nature of the bullying experienced by apprentices and on how resilience can be developed.

Recommendation 8

Conduct further research exploring workplace culture and attitudes to bullying amongst trade workers, supervisors and employers of apprentices.