World Mental Health Day 2021

The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day, set by the federation for Mental Health, is ‘Mental health in an unequal world. It is also a chance to talk about mental health in general, how we need to look after it, and how important it is to talk about things and get help if you are struggling.

||           “With stigma still surrounding mental health, it can be difficult to get the help needed.”

Between 75% to 95% of people with mental disorders in low and middle-income countries are unable to access mental health services at all. With stigma still surrounding mental health, it can be difficult to get the help needed. Government policies which limit access to health care, education and public transport causes people in lower income households to be unable to find the time, money, or resources to improve their mental health. Alongside this, pollution and a lack of healthy food lead to poorer physical health, which in turn increases the risk of depression. These are all more common with people struggling in poverty due to an inability to live in the countryside or afford fresh, healthy food.

||           “Equal wealth provides far more opportunities to children”

In the UK, children and adults living in households in the lowest 20% income bracket are 2-3 times more likely to develop mental health problems than those in the highest bracket. Equal wealth provides far more opportunities to children, and so it is vital to encourage education systems (schools and universities) to be more aware and understanding of mental health; as well as provide more resources and support to care for children and young adults who need it.

||           “Companies have to make positive changes to their work environment”

Employment has a major effect on someone’s mental health and relies heavily on the quality of work, pay, management, and many more. Job insecurity, low wages, and health risks all contribute negatively to mental wellbeing. Companies have to make positive changes to their work environment and ensure fair wages are provided in order to combat this wealth inequality.

||           “we understand the importance of life outside of the office”

Highfield value the mental wellbeing of employees as we strive to continuously improve the working environment in order to create a space that is supportive and relaxing. Alongside this, we understand the importance of life outside of the office, which is why we have implemented and extended our 4-day work week trial so that more time can be spent ‘switching off.’

Our mission is to become the most trusted built environment recruitment business, and that starts with our teams. If they can trust us to provide a work space that is happy, healthy, and equal, then they are more able to deliver a high standard service to all our candidates and clients.

We work hard to ensure mental health is recognised and cared for at Highfield. Some of our efforts include:

  • 4-day work weeks
  • Remote working
  • Mental health first aiders
  • Relaxing breakout room and kitchen space
  • A healthy and collaborative work environment
  • Supportive and engaged management
  • Constant team events

With many more scattered throughout the office and our work practices, we continue to add to this list and adapt it, so as to be certain that Highfield is a fulfilling place to work.

If you’re interested in being a part of the most trusted recruitment agency, then we have a range of vacancies available!

  • Resourcer- property
  • Resourcer- FM
  • Global Recruiter
  • Experience recruitment manager
  • Talent hunter
  • Senior recruitment partner

Book a call with Annie https://bit.ly/2Xw8FBG to chat about our positions or ask us more about Highfield.

Become a part of somewhere that values your wellbeing and mental health, and strives to demonstrate its honest transparency through every step of your career.

The skills of the future for technical engineering in a post pandemic world

“Reimagining Youth Skills Post-Pandemic” is this year’s theme for World Youth Skills Day as it pays tribute to the resilience and creativity of young people throughout Covid-19.

UNESCO-UNEVOC listens to peoples stories

Here’s what they’re asking young people (ages 15-24) to consider and have a conversation about:

  • What skills/work do you wish to acquire for the future?
  • What skills do you think will be most important in the post-pandemic era and why?
  • What is your message to decision makers in your country to support youth employment, skills development and entrepreneurship?

In order to ensure the importance of young people being well equipped with skills for employment, the United Nations General Assembly stated from 2014 that the 15th of July will be World Youth Skills Day. Its purpose was to create a conversation for young people and encourage engagement and dialogue of important topics. The youth are the future, so providing education, training, and support is vital to the growth and development of industries, particularly those needing higher skill levels like technical engineering.

Specialist training is essential for many high-level positions and roles, making it crucial to provide it to new candidates. This can be reinforced with mentoring schemes as the aging workforce transfers its knowledge and skills alongside supportive education.

This can be a major benefit in maintaining expertise not just in an industry but also contained within a company, as the youth pick up knowledge from more experienced workers.

It’s not just the younger generations that can benefit from this. As people look to change careers later in life, specific training can help to establish new talents whilst support can be provided to develop their transferable skills. Many older candidates who are new to construction industries can bring a collection of highly valuable skills.

The pandemic has affected us all in some way, however, young people aged 15-24 have been particularly exposed to the socio-economic consequences. School and workplace closures have led to a loss in learning and training, alongside many in this age group being hit hardest with unemployment rates. As with all new generations of workers, new demands are being made and expectations changed, which is particularly prevalent in a post pandemic world.

More just, equitable, and progressive opportunities and solutions are being demanded of society by youth as they face a range of challenges such as education, health, employment, and gender equality. Highfields own Co-founder is on the board of the local school, helping to inspire and raise awareness of opportunities and skills for young people.

Flexibility and acceptance from companies is desperately required in order to support the skills of the youth, which is part of the conversation that World Youth Skills Day aims to open up this year.

Challenges for the youth

  • Education
  • Employment
  • Experience
  • Gender Equality
  • Health

Solutions

  • Equal opportunities
  • Flexibility
  • Support
  • Training

Interviews with inspiring women this international women in engineering day

Wednesday the 23rd June 2021 marks International Women in Engineering Day and this year we are celebrating the thriving women in the industry. In this article we have quotes from Lucy Smith, a Senior project manager at Morgan Sindall who is a respected leader in her career. As well as, we go over some great advice from the women who been guests on ‘Inside Data Centre Podcast’ by our very own Andy Davis.  

|| How did you get into the construction Industry and were there any key moments that led you there?  

I went to a career’s fair at school, not really knowing what I wanted to do and my Dad who was a Lecturer in the Built Environment suggested I go and ‘see the Civil Engineering stall’ as I enjoyed Maths and Sciences. I spoke to the guys on the stall and was hooked from there on in. When I was in my 5th year at senior school my dad (through his contacts) arranged for me to do some work experience with Wimpey Construction on an extension to North Manchester General Hospital. I spent some time in the office and some time on site with the engineer. My Dad also arranged for me to do some work experience with Taylor Woodrow in the design office. I loved the work experience on site even though as a female I was somewhat of an anomaly! This confirmed that I wanted to pursue a career in Civil Engineering. Once I completed my degree, a great opportunity came up to do a PhD in Civil Engineering which was sponsored by Miller Civil Engineering (now Morgan Sindall). I then started life on site with Miller Civil Engineering as a graduate Civil Engineer in the water industry. I’ve worked my way up from there from site engineer to Framework Delivery Manager for Morgan Sindall within the water industry. 18 months ago, I decided I wanted a new challenge and I’m now working in the nuclear industry (still for Morgan Sindall). 

|| What are three things you like most about your role? 

I know it’s a cliché but everyday is different and there is always a complex, challenging problem to solve. It is certainly never boring! I also love the fact that on a day to day basis you meet so many different people; one day I can be speaking to an operative digging an excavation, the next day a farmer to gain access to their land, the next day someone from the supply chain negotiating a contract or even someone from the Regulators. You need to adopt a different way of communicating with each stakeholder to achieve an outcome that suits all parties. I think most importantly of all, as a Civil Engineer I can say that I am improving the world we live in. When I go into schools to talk about what I do, I always say that we wouldn’t have the lives we have if it wasn’t for the work that Civil Engineers do. From a job satisfaction point of view, not everybody can turn to their friends and family and say that, nor can they show them something that they’ve worked on and say ‘I built that!’. This obviously has a lot more impact on the prestigious projects such as structures, bridges and buildings than a Sewage Treatment Works which is where I’ve spent the majority of my career! 

|| What challenges do women face working in construction and in your opinion how can the industry change these?  

I’m in a fortunate position where I’ve never really had a negative experience as a female working in the construction industry. I’ve been fortunate to work for a company that are very supportive and I’ve never really had to work away from home for long periods of time which I have been grateful for, especially as I have a son who is now 13 years old. When I first came back to work after having him, diversity and inclusion were almost unheard of and as such, there was no consideration for the provisions needed for feeding mothers. I am thankful to say that time has moved on and diversity and inclusion is now starting to become embedded into businesses. One of my frustrations at the minute is that within the industry there are talks of fulfilling quotas for numbers of females at a senior manager/ director level. For me I want to know that I’ve got a position on my own merit, not just to fulfil a quota. It is disappointing that throughout my 20 year career, I have seen little increase in the numbers of female engineers working on site. I have however noticed an increase in numbers in design/ engineering from a consultancy point of view but not contracting. I believe this is down to perception and teachers not understanding what opportunities there are in construction and in particular in my area, what a Civil Engineer actually is. We have to educate the education professionals as to what opportunities and career paths there are within the construction industry. It is essential that we change the perception of the construction industry and I believe that this starts in primary schools. 

|| What would your one piece of advice be for other women who want to go into the construction industry? 

It’s a fantastic industry to be in; be fearless throughout your career, believe in yourself and grab every opportunity that you can. 

Alongside Lucy Smith’s great insight, there have also been some amazing guests on Andy Davis’ ‘Inside Data Centres podcast’, with Theresa O’Brien, Amber Villegas-Williamson, and Jen Reininger all agreeing that more awareness needs to be made for young girls to enter industries like data centres and to take on engineering and technical roles. Theresa O’Brien is a Global Talent Resourcing Leader within CBRE Data Centre Solutions and her insight into how the industry has evolved to be more diverse goes down to even the simple act of making job descriptions gender neutral. Changing the language that is communicating to candidates to avoid exclusion and create a more even playing field for gender, ethnicity, and more. Theresa knows just how much engineering, particularly in the data centres, can offer “there’s so much growth and so much opportunity, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to work in the sector.”  

As Amber Villegas-Williamson says “it’s about telling people we’re here and making them feel welcome.” She encourages candidates, students, anyone to reach out to those already working in technical roles and ask questions, with one piece of advice being “Have a conversation. Find those people to speak to, search LinkedIn or platforms such as ‘I’m an engineer get me out of here’ and connect to each other to find inspiration and knowledge. The only way to learn is to ask and waiting to the industry to come to you will not get you there. “ 

Jen Reininger makes similar points as she advices finding a great mentor as we start to see a lot more growth and expansion globally for the data centre sector and subsequently engineering and technical roles. During her career, Jen has seen diversity changing in companies as they work towards attracting more women and focus on moving away from the old ways. She has first hand seen what good can be achieved with a diverse team, as women bring different traits into teams! There is a shift in ideas and ways of thinking, allowing teams to grow, which is extremely important to keep a business alive and moving with the times.  

Collectively, it can be agreed that awareness and education about what opportunities are available in these careers is one of the biggest and most important steps to take. Showing young girls what is out there and the support available to mentor and guide people so that everyone feels they have an equal opportunity to be a part of these rewarding roles. Diverse teams provide new qualities and opens up creativity and progression. Women in engineering is a solution to many challenges faced by the industry, and we can make those changes start today.  

Men’s health week advice, awareness, and the CAN DO challenge

June 14th is the start of men’s health week this year, addressing the physical, mental, and emotional health of men around the world. Awareness of men’s health is vital, particularly for male dominated industries such as construction and engineering. There is often a reputation surrounding careers in construction and on worksites that a level of ‘masculinity’ is expected, potentially leading to unhealthy work practices and wellbeing. This is why it is important to continue providing support systems for men, allowing for a new, and positive message to be spread as well as reducing the stigma surrounding emotional and mental health.

Wellbeing is highly supported among our teams at Highfield, with fitness opportunities like yoga and meditation classes in the office, as well as two trained mental health first aiders. We always aim to look after staff and provide as much support as possible; engaging in their wellbeing to create a positive and enjoyable work environment.

We thought it would be a great opportunity to speak to one of our consultants, Josh, who is very successful in his role and someone who is committed to looking after his health both physical and mental. Here are some of his tips!

||           What do you do to care for your mental and physical health?

I always do my best to make sure that I’m in a good headspace and can tackle any challenges that are thrown my way. I attend a CrossFit gym most days and compliment this with running, swimming, cycling or walking. As well as this, I try to find time in my day for reading/listening to books to make sure I’m always learning about new ways to deal with life!

||           How often?

Every single day I’ll make sure I do any or all of the above – these are my non negotiables and I’m pretty grumpy if I don’t do any of it. I guess that’s proof that it works!

||           Why do you do it?

These are the things that make me feel good. I think it’s great to always be learning and growing whether that is personally of professionally and I’m by no means the best at any of the above so it’s a journey that helps keep me motivated and mentally robust.

||           What challenges do you think men face in regards to their health (mental, physical etc)?

I think there is a lot of pressure for men to put on a brave face and not show weakness when in uncomfortable and unfamiliar situations. It is ok to ask questions if you’re unsure. I think it’s always a lot quicker to say you can’t deal with a certain situation than to struggle through it, get anxious about it and then not be able to do any of it. People need to understand it’s okay not to have all the answers and that they can’t always be good at everything all the time.

||           Do you have any advice for other men wanting to do more for their health?

Be brave enough to be bad at something new. Find something that interests you and makes you feel good/happy, obsess over it, go through the initial stages of learning and then continue to grow and excel. Maybe try it with a friend or someone that has similar interests – who knows, you could make new friends or join a new community of like-minded people!

Be selfish with your time. Time is finite and we only have a limited amount of it, don’t spend time doing things that don’t result in you being a happier, better version of yourself.

For international men’s health week this year, there is the CAN DO challenge which focuses on helping any negative effects this pandemic may have had on the health and wellbeing of men. With communication being such a main focus over the last year as we turned to working and living remotely, there is a desire to continue this drive for connection and extending it towards a more personal level. Discussing mental health worries at home and in the workplace will always be the first, and biggest step to take.

For each day of this awareness week, there is a themed task to complete for the CAN DO challenge to help our journeys back to stability and positivity. It is flexible and adaptable, allowing for creativity in how you choose to take part. This helps to keep the focus on ensuring men’s health is prioritised, while being achievable and accessible for everyone. Anyone can take part and it is designed to help reconnect people and get you active, improving men’s wellbeing.

#connectmonday

                Connect with other people. For example call an old friend that you haven’t spoken to since before lockdown, or check in on your neighbour and see how they’re doing.

#activetuesday

                Get out of the house and get your body moving. Take part in any form of exercise or activities to keep up your physical health.

#noticewednesday

                Have a break from social media, phones, and computers in order to take notice of the environment around you. This can be embracing nature, people, hobbies, etc.

#discoverthursday

                Learn something new. Read a new book, try a new skill, learn a new language (maybe in preparation for when we can start travelling safely again)

#offerfriday

                Do something for someone else. It’s been proven to boost mental health when we perform kind gestures for other people, whether that’s family, friends, or strangers

We often miss our surroundings as we get caught up in busy lives and routines, so it can be important to regain perspective and enjoy what’s around you or something you love. It easy to get caught up in our jobs without taking a step back to review our health, ensuring we have perspective and the chance to focus on what we need or want.

Mental, physical, and emotional health should always be cared for, but with stigma still surrounding these for men, it can be difficult to take the right steps. The idea of having to be ‘masculine’ often means the avoidance of expressing emotion and feelings, creating a damaging way of working and living. Embrace this week as a chance to reflect on your personal health and that of friends, neighbours, and colleagues. We can all work together to make an environment that is supportive and positive for men’s health.

Highfield are a Certified Carbon Neutral Business