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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 13 February 2006

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Bullying in the Workplace

ANYONE who was bullied at school will remember the fear and anxiety they felt everyday as they entered the school gates. Unfortunately, for many, that fear was not left behind in the playground.

Bullying in the workplace is not a rare occurrence, with 1 in 6 people having experienced it in the last 6 months and 1 in 4 over the last 5 years.  However, in a recent survey by The Andrea Adams Trust, it was found that only 26% of those surveyed knew of specific policies in their workplace designed to help victims of bullying.

Staff at online job board www.ClickAJob.co.uk  found these results shocking and decided to put their heads together to uncover what bullying is all about, who these bullies are and what can be done about it. After all, if nothing is done about the situation, it will lead to poor performance for companies and a miserable work life for many.

What is bullying?

Bullying is any form of harassment, whether mental or physical, which is unwanted by the person it’s aimed at. If the conduct by another makes a person feel harassed or uncomfortable,  whether intentional or not, this can be classed as bullying. It can be persistent, offensive behaviour, which undermines another person’s self esteem and confidence.

Who are the bullies?

The bullies are normally those that feel under a lot of stress due to a lack of control over their workload. As a result they feel a need to take this frustration out on others. A lot of people claim to have been bullied by their immediate line manager, who is often under stress from their manager to get things done. Most bullies are under so much stress, they do not even realise what they are doing. A manager who shouts all the time at their workforce will just build up resentment and hostility among staff.

For the employer, bullying will result in high sickness rates among staff, and high employee turn over, coupled with low work force morale.

For the employees it can lead to high stress levels, a miserable working environment and even premature death, due to stress-related illness.

Bullying warning signs:-

• Unwarranted, humiliating, offensive behaviour towards an individual

• Persistent, negative and malicious attacks on an individual’s professional performance at work or personal life

• The use of position of power to cause fear in others, oppressing them by force or threat

How do you tackle bullying?

• If you are being bullied at work, you should either try and talk it over with a sympathetic colleague or, if you belong to one, contact your Trade Union

• Keep a written record of the bullying that occurs with dates and times

• Confront the person doing the bullying and tell them you don’t like the way you are being made to feel

• See if it is happening to anyone else in the company

• If all else fails, get in touch with the professionals who are there to help

Helplines...

There are plenty of helplines available if you find yourself in this position.

• The Andrea Adams Trust:- 01273 704900 or visit www.andreaadamstrust.org.

• Bully Online:- Visit www.bullyonline.org.

Yngve Traberg, CEO of ClickAJob, said:- “Here at ClickAJob we will not tolerate bullying of any kind and have set up special Staff Forums, where staff can feel free to air their views and opinions in a controlled environment.  Not only does bullying lead to a miserable working life for its victims, it also effects company performance due to the negative atmosphere it creates.”

DROP OUT TEENS HIT PARENTS' STRESS LEVELS

PARENTS urged to encourage their children to stay on in education to achieve the minimum qualifications needed to succeed in life.  Anxiety, helplessness and depression are among the symptoms suffered by parents as a result of their children dropping out of education or training at 16.  The findings come in research from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), which reveals the full extent of stress parents suffer from when their children drop out of learning.

A 3rd of all parents were left suffering from one of the common symptoms of stress or depression. The
number affected increased to nearly 4 in 10 if the child left without the minimum level of qualifications needed to succeed in life, such as 5 good GCSEs or the equivalent.
1 in 5 parents experienced anxiety and 14% reported 'feeling helpless'. For 5%, the situation even triggered a period of depression.

The reasons given for increased stress among parents are concerns that their child will not be able to lead the life they hope for (27%), worry that their child will be unemployed (22%), that they will not get a good job (20%) and that they will not earn much money (19%).  Some parents' concerns are even more serious. 12% worry about their child becoming involved with drugs, while 8% worry their child will get involved in crime and 4% fear the decision might mean their child becoming homeless at some stage.

Many of the concerns highlighted by worried parents are backed up by official statistics that show people with further education qualifications, such as GNVQs and A-Levels, add over £4,000 a year to their salaries compared to those with few or no GCSEs.

Ruth Bullen, Deputy Director of Young People's Learning at the LSC, commented on the findings:- "We sympathise with parents whose children decide to leave education at 16 - this can have a profound impact on the rest of a person's life. Sadly, 2/3rds of parents whose child had actually dropped out of learning at 16 told us that this child had left school without the minimum level of qualifications necessary to succeed in life.  We know that by 2010 very few jobs will be open to young people who do not have 5 GCSEs at grades A* to C, or the equivalent. Jobs that don't require these qualifications are likely to be poorly paid with limited prospects. But the good news is that there have never been so many ways to achieve this minimum level of qualifications.  Between the ages of 16 and 19 young people can choose from Apprenticeships, and vocational courses or they can re-take GCSEs. It's never too late either; even those who have previously dropped out of learning can return to it at any time. For some of these options financial support, such as the Education Maintenance Allowance, is there for those most in need of it. Money should not be a barrier to young people remaining in education and training after 16. Plus, there are lots of different places and ways to learn if a young person disliked school.  You can learn in Further Education and Sixth Form Colleges or with an employer while doing an Apprenticeship.
There really is plenty of choice available to young people and we would urge them and their parents to find out more about staying in some form of learning until they have at least the minimum set of qualifications."

For more information about achieving the minimum qualifications needed to succeed in life or staying on in education, parents and young people can visit:-  getsetforlife.org.uk or contact their local Connexions centre. 

To apply for EMA, young people can call 080 810 16 2 19 or visit www.direct.gov.uk/ema.

Dukes Bar Southport Art Centre Sign Language Sessions...

HAVE you wanted to learn to Communicate in Sign Language in an Informal and FUN way.. Don't loos your Signing Skills come along and Practice with others.. Now you can on.... Thursday 16 February 2006 at 13:30 for 1 Hour 30 Minutes.   Classes will be repeated weekly on Thursday Until 25 May 2006 at the Southport Art Center. For more information please email:- practice makes perfect  ... Thank You!

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