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North West Business Leadership Team Strengthens its Membership

THE North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT) has welcomed Steve Coffey as a new member. Steve is the Chief Executive of Torus, the Region's largest affordable housing provider, who own and manage around 40,000 homes in Warrington, St Helens, Liverpool and beyond.

Profits generated by group members Torus Developments and HMS are reinvested into the Torus Foundation, a community anchor institution, to fund projects that build social capital and fulfil the group mission of growing stronger communities. Torus operates as a lead strategic partner for Liverpool, St Helens, and Warrington Councils, and for the Government's housing accelerator Homes England.

Chairman of the North West Business Leadership Team, Jonathan Murphy, welcomed the news:- "I have been keen to ensure that the vital role that affordable housing must play in the future sustainable growth of the Region is recognised at the heart of our work, from driving forward the skills agenda through to our journey to net zero. Torus are a significant player in this space, and Steve brings a wealth of personal expertise with him, that will add great value to us. I am very much looking forward to working with him and his team."

Steve said:- "I am delighted to join the NWBLT and look forward to working with the team to share ideas and drive forward opportunities for growth and levelling up. Torus is a key investor and catalyst for change in the North West and will play a huge contribution to developing future sustainable places and capturing new jobs and future skills through strong partnerships. With the value and expertise of NWBLT colleagues, Torus will be able to enhance these opportunities and support the growth of a prosperous, green and vibrant North West."

A number of new representatives of member organisations have also joined the Team, are:-

Michael Bradley, Daresbury Lab Leader, Programme Director IBM Research. Michael is a Senior Leader in IBM with over 20 years of experience at the company. Michael's leadership roles in IBM have enabled him to work in IBM's Software Development Labs, Emerging technologies, Research and Services businesses. This has given him a deep and broad business understanding within the technology industry. He has led small, agile internal start up teams for new products and large global operations teams. Michael is a member of IBM's Leadership Faculty, helping to coach and train the next generation of IBM'ers. He has a research background in Biochemical Engineering, a passion for new technologies and enabling clients and IBMers to succeed.

Vanessa Harding, MD, North West Co-Lead, Accenture - Vanessa is a Managing Director in Accenture's Strategy and Consulting Banking practice and has spent the last 15+ years focussed on shaping and delivering large scale business and technology transformational change across a range of Banking clients.

4 in 5 UK tradespeople experience mental health problems due to work

82% of UK tradespeople experience mental health problems due to work related issues, a new study has found. The research was commissioned for Mental Health Awareness Week (9 May to 15 May 2022) by IronmongeryDirect, the UK's largest supplier of specialist ironmongery, and the results have been published in its annual industry report.

It found that 64% of tradespeople experience some form of mental health problem, such as stress, anxiety or depression, every month, and sadly, 13% feel symptoms every single day.

Finances remain the number 1 cause of stress, with 34% saying that money worries play on their mind. In fact, the top 5 reasons are the same as last year, with customer tensions (24%) taking second spot once again.

The most significant change from 2021 is the impact of customer abuse, with 18% saying they struggle with insults or threats, which is treble the figure from the previous report (6%).

The top 10 most common causes of stress for tradespeople are:-
1. Finances 34%. 6. Job security 19%.
2. Tensions with customers 24%. 7. Making mistakes at work 19%.
3. High workload 23%. 8. Abuse from customers 18%.
4. Tensions with business partners 21%. 9. Risk of catching Covid19 18%.
5. Tensions with suppliers 20%. 10. Doing the best job you can for customers 15%.

Unfortunately, despite the benefits of doing so, 85% tradespeople don't feel comfortable talking to others about their feelings. Just 16% have spoken to friends or family about their mental health, which is considerably fewer than last year (42%).

Furthermore, 16% worry what their colleagues would think if they told them what they were going through, and more than 28% feel they can't take time off work for mental health reasons.

Plumbers are the most likely tradespeople to feel stressed or anxious on a daily basis (27%), but overall, mental health problems are most common amongst plasterers. 92% say they experience issues at least once a year.

The trades that are most and least likely to experience mental health issues are:-
1. Plasterer 92%. 6. Building surveyor 84%.
2. Carpenter 90%. 7. Plumber 81%.
3. Builder 89%. 8. Electrician 81%.
4. Joiner 89%. 9. Landscaper 75%.
5. Bricklayer 87%. 10. Painter and decorator 68%.

As part of its campaign to raise awareness of mental health amongst tradespeople, IronmongeryDirect is partnering with Basildon Mind, the mental health charity, and is donating over £3,000 to support with its vital services.

Emma Mamo, Head of Workspace Wellbeing at Mind, said:- "In male dominated industries such as construction, employees are often less willing and able to open up about their mental health and ask for support. This can be problematic because mental health problems often become worse if left untreated, and the consequences can be fatal. We urge employers to create cultures where employees can speak openly and honestly about their mental health."

Dominick Sandford, Managing Director at IronmongeryDirect and ElectricalDirect, said:- "It's an unfortunate truth that mental health issues are common across our industry, and it's awful to see that so many tradespeople experience problems on a regular basis. It's particularly worrying to see that the number of people talking to others about their mental health has dropped significantly from last year. As difficult as it can be to discuss your feelings, talking about them with someone else, whether that's a colleague or family member, can really help to begin addressing the issues."

To read IronmongeryDirect's Mental Health in the Trades: 2022 Report, visit:- IronmongeryDirect.Co.UK.

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