George FM Drive
Brook's hot take on giving apprentices stick
00:00 / 02:06
George Drive

‘It does real damage’: Brook opens up about tradie hazing and its impact on mental health

Speaking from personal experience, Brook reckons 'banter' on the worksite can go way too far.

There's maybe no one on Earth more about the banter than George Drive's Brook Gibson, but he took the opportunity to get real about when it goes too far in his latest hot take. 

Reminiscing on his apprentice tradie days, Brook said he encountered a level of bullying and harassment that made him want to quit - and he reckons that's an all-too-common experience for young men on worksites.

“There’s giving people stick and then there’s genuinely bullying and degrading someone and making them not want to come to work and feel worthless,” he said. “It can do actual mental health damage.”

“I understand the apprentice is the young person on site. You might do the classic: ‘Go pick up this long wait’.”

“But the day in and day out, really intense just barking at them, giving them shit - you’re not helping."

"The point of an apprentice is to learn off you and grow as a person. If you’re not aiding with that, who are you? Why are you in the position you’re in?”

Brook reckons it's time for worksite culture to evolve beyond this kind of generally accepted behaviour, adding that a change will be crucial in lowering men's suicide rates and improving mental health.

“I understand the whole ‘that’s how it’s always been, that’s how it is,’ yeah, but things can change,” he added. 

“When I was an apprentice there were multiple weeks I felt like quitting. Every day I’d just get barked at and you’re just like: ‘Why am I here? Why am I putting up with this? What for?’.”

“[It’s all] by these old dogs that have worked there for 50 years. Congratulations, mate, your back’s buggered, your knees are buggered, but you’re a hard man. Good on ya bro,” he said. 

“There’s a reason why men are the worst in suicide rates and mental health and things like that. You gotta look at things like this with young men.’

“The pure day-in and day-out bullying of an apprentice is just not needed.”

If you've ever been on a worksite or just worked around a bunch of blokes, you'll know that Brook is on the money here. 'Chat' and 'banter' can and do go way too far and can have seriously negative effects. 

If you or someone you know is struggling, below is a list of resources that can help. 

Mental Health Helpline Services

Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)
Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Healthline – 0800 611 116
Samaritans – 0800 726 666

Depression-specific Helplines

Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 (to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions) – includes The Journal online help service –  online e-therapy tool provided by the University of Auckland that helps young people learn skills to deal with feeling down, depressed or stressed

Helplines for children and young people

Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email or online chat – or email or free text 5626
What's Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds). Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, 12noon–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm. Online chat is available from 3pm–10pm 7 days a week, including all public holidays
I AM HOPE - FREE TEXT OR CALL 1737 - available any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They also provide funding for young people aged 05-24yrs to get counselling