R U OK? launches resources for young apprentices, trainees
R U OK? has called on young trainees and apprentices to foster supportive friendships by regularly checking in with their mates and paying attention to life events and any signs that might indicate that a mate is struggling. The ‘Wellbeing at work: Apprenticeships and mental health’ report from Orygen found that almost half of young people who begin an apprenticeship will not finish it. One of the leading reasons for this is the impact of apprenticeships on the mental health of young people being affected by challenging working conditions, poor pay or bullying.
R U OK? has launched ‘Be a mate, it’s worth it’, with support from Spirit Super, to provide free resources for trainees and apprentices. Free practical tools and tips have also been developed to empower trainees and apprentices with the knowledge and confidence to have meaningful conversations and foster supportive friendships. Katherine Newton, R U OK? CEO, encouraged apprentices and trainees to make the time to build strong friendships they can rely on as they move through life to ensure they feel connected and supported.
“Research shows being an apprentice or trainee can be challenging for young people who are learning how to transition from classroom to workplace. This, along with the usual ups and downs of life can have a cumulative effect and impact their mental health and sense of social connection,” Newton said.
When R U OK? Community Ambassador Megan Cox, 21, was accepted into an apprenticeship program while studying business and IT at TAFE NSW, she initially found it difficult to adjust and experienced anxiety and panic attacks. “What really helped was being able to be open with those around me about the struggles I was facing. Knowing I wasn’t alone and knowing people genuinely cared helped me get the support I needed. I’ve since learnt to recognise signs when those close to me might be struggling, and how to talk to them about it,” Cox said.
Encouragement from her peers and assistance from her training provider’s mental health services helped Cox excel in her high-pressure work environment and in 2021 she was named Trainee of the Year at both the Australian Training Awards and NSW Training Awards. She now works as an HR Coordinator. “I’m passionate about supporting others and want all young people to feel they can have an R U OK? Conversation. ‘Be a mate, it’s worth it’ recognises how important good friends are when we’re going through tough times, as well as providing tips for how to have these conversations,” Cox said.
All ‘Be a mate, it’s worth it’ resources are free to access at ruok.org.au.
For free and confidential support at any time of day or night, young people up to 25 years of age can access Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or chat online, 24/7 at: kidshelpline.com.au.
13YARN is a free 24/7 service offering crisis support for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. Call 13YARN (13 92 76).
For support at any time of day or night, Lifeline provides free and confidential crisis support. Call 13 11 14, text 0477 13 11 14 or chat online at: lifeline.org.au.
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