MATES: MIC central Queensland field officer Ruth Thompson and John Sirotti found a common passion.
MATES: MIC central Queensland field officer Ruth Thompson and John Sirotti found a common passion. Mara Pattison-Sowden

Conference shows there's help for industry men

CONSTRUCTION has the perception of being a "tough man's" industry to work in, but John Sirotti saw how men could be broken.

Attending yesterday's Construction Skills Queensland conference at the Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre, he was pleased to meet Ruth Thompson, a central Queensland field officer for Mates in Construction, a charity set up in 2008 to reduce the high level of suicide among workers.

"There are fantastic programs on my doorstop I didn't know about," he said.

"I tried starting something like that 15 years ago and got laughed at.

"I got told 'men don't cry on building sites, men don't commit suicide'."

But Mr Sirotti, who owns Spectral Constructions, said he did a stint in the mines.

"I saw it - the long hours, being at home, and communicating with the women - there's so much disparity in families here," he said.

He said the men wanted to come home and sit in front of the television with their stubby, while the women wanted a break from the kids.

"The amount of women that say, finally something for our blokes - it's amazing."

The CSQ conference also gave some of Gladstone's health and safety personnel an insight into how training availability and funding has improved for regional areas.

"We need the opportunity to upskill our workplace without a huge financial outlay," said OHS72's Nicola Kelbie.



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