Let’s get real about Tradies for a moment. Most commonly, there are two types of Tradies, those in the residential sector and those in commercial/Industrial. This is not mutually exclusive however, and there is often a lot of cross over for many trades. Having done my time in the residential sector, that’s where my knowledge lies. However, what I will say most likely rings true for every trade.
We can really only work during the hours of the day that the sun is up, hence why you hear the power tools screaming at 6:30am on the dot. This is usually accompanied by the day’s choice of radio station, turned right up loud. Work is a minimum of 8 hours, although I’ve done my fair share of 12-hour days, as I’m sure everyone has. Working long into the afternoon is common and packing away tools in the dark, hoping you haven’t left anything out on the scaffold that was missed. If the weather conditions are good, then the body might feel alright. But those Summer months are a killer and the couch at home in front of the telly with a beer is like paradise. Dinner may or may not happen, depending on whether you’ve got a cook at home.
What about the blokes that run the show, the Boss. Well once he’s knocked off, its usually time to go home and run the business. There is always paperwork, accounting and plenty of quotes to be churning out. After all you need to keep the work coming in to be able to keep all the boys in work, not to mention keep the roof over the head and food on the table. Throw in a bit of family time, entertain the kids for a couple hours and give the wife or partner a bit of attention and it’s a pretty full schedule. Hopefully it’s an uninterrupted night sleep.
So what sort of support is there throughout the days?
Everyday we have to swing past the hardware store and pick up a few things, run around to suppliers and keep everything going for the boys on site. It doesn’t take long before becoming friendly with the people behind the desks, with those familiar faces and a quick chat always welcomed. It’s a co-dependent relationship between tradies and suppliers because we both need each other for both businesses to operate.
Brett’s Timber and Hardware is a Brisbane institution, coming from humble family beginnings, now with over 100 years in the game and more than 8 locations. I’ve lived in Brisbane for almost 9 years, moving up here as a second-year apprentice. In that time, I have been through the gates of Brett’s countless times. The staff are friendly and always helpful. When I first approached owner, Bill Nutting about getting Brett’s to come on board with the TradeMutt movement, his support was immediate. He understands the current social climate and the growing need to support and encourage mental wellness and he wanted this to translate through his staff and onto the customers. Bretts have decked out all their staff, from the yardies to the reps in, TradeMutt shirts. The instruction is to wear these shirts every Friday as a show of support for each other, as well as the tradies that come through the doors every day. This is a company that wants to go the extra mile, extending their already friendly and welcoming vibe, to also making an invisible issue – mental health - impossible to ignore.
Brett’s is a safe space for people to feel supported not just as a customer, but as a person. They are encouraging the action of opening up and talking about whatever it may be that is weighing you down, without the fear of judgment. They are leading the charge and recognise the importance that practicing mental wellness plays in the continuing success of the business.
Steel Blue, another Aussie company that are booting goals in supporting Aussie tradies. On the back of their ‘Pink Boot’ raising funds for breast cancer, the innovative and creative brand have put their best boot forward in raising much needed funds for Beyond Blue. The recognisable ‘Blue Boot’ along with it’s tagline “stepping forward for mental health” is an awesome way of not only bringing much needed attention to mental health issues in Australia, but with $10 from every pair sold going directly to the charity, Steel Blue are proving themselves as being a front runner in not only getting the conversations started, but using an interesting and eye catching product to do so. Their boots come in both men’s and women’s sizes, with the women’s being individually numbered to add that extra bit of rarity to the product. Not only are they doing an awesome thing for mental health, but also empowering lady tradies with a really cool product.
Finally, good friends of ours, Travelling Tradies, recently went on a month-long trip to Brazil, using the Brazil Bonanza as a launching pad for their awesome start-up. Travelling Tradies is a one of a kind platform enabling qualified workers from Australian and New Zealand, to swap their skills at hostels all around the world, in exchange for free accommodation, food and priceless experiences. In order to make this happen, aside from the unwavering work that founder Adam Valastro puts in to make his dream a reality for others, they were supported by power tool giant Milwaukee. Milwaukee developed a Tradie Travel pack that consisted of the essential cordless tools to get all those little jobs done. I’m not sure if Milwaukee knows how big of an impact they made by getting involved with Travelling Tradies, but the future looks extremely bright for this venture.
When talking all things mental health and the Trades, Travelling Tradies are making work and travel extremely accessible where it otherwise might not have been. Sometimes when you’re in a rut, the best thing you can do is treat yourself to a change of scenery. A bit of travel definitely feeds the soul, and the experiences that it provides can be life changing. Well done Travelling Tradies, and Milwaukee for sponsoring such a worthwhile Aussie start up.
You can come see us at BrExpo Hendres Friday 26th October 2018. Click here for all the info.