Bullying or Banter: What should an apprentice expect?

Bullying or Banter: What should an apprentice expect?

If you're thinking about stepping onto an Australian construction site as an apprentice or you've already taken the plunge, you might have noticed that the culture here can be quite unique. We Aussies are known for our no-nonsense attitude, our camaraderie, and our love for a bit of banter. But where's the line between harmless ribbing and hurtful bullying?

First things first, when you step onto an Aussie construction site, you're walking into a culture that's as Aussie as mullets at Summernats. Banter, ragging on each other, and taking the piss is practically an art form. It's how we build camaraderie, strengthen our bonds, and get through those long, hard days. We're known for being a tight-knit bunch who can crack a joke in the midst of the toughest jobs. And you know what? That's awesome.

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Banter is like the secret ingredient in a good meat pie. It's about teasing your workmates, sharing a laugh, and showing you're part of the team. We'll rib you about your footy team losing on the weekend, give you a hard time if you mess up a measurement, or playfully call you out on your quirks. But it's all in good fun, and we expect the same in return.

Now, here's the kicker. Banter is all fun and games until it crosses the line into bullying. We Aussies have a pretty high tolerance for taking the piss out of each other, but there are boundaries, and it's pretty important to recognise them.

Bullying is never, ever okay, and nobody should feel unsafe or humiliated at work. There's a difference between a friendly dig and a malicious attack. This is especially true when it comes to young fellas on site who are brand new to the culture, and also the main candidate to be on the receiving end of the banter.

As a young apprentice, you're likely to be the target of some banter. It's like an initiation into the construction site family. Expect some ribbing about your newbie status, your mistakes, and maybe even some good-natured teasing about being the 'rookie' for a while. Embrace it! It's all part of learning the ropes and proving you've got what it takes to be one of the team.

That said, if you ever feel uncomfortable, singled out, or like the banter has gone too far, you've got rights. In Australia, we've got laws and regulations in place to protect workers from bullying and harassment. Don't be afraid to speak up and let your supervisor or a trusted workmate know if you're feeling targeted or harassed. There's a bunch of good blokes in the game and they'll step in for you, and if they don't you're at a company with culture you should get yourself away from anyway.

In the end, Aussie construction sites are like a big, tough family. We might give each other a hard time, but when push comes to shove, we've got each other's backs. Also, remember that banter is a two-way street so you apprentices can clap back!

Speaking of brotherhoods, are you in the Blokes Advice Facebook group? We're almost 300 000 Aussie blokes who talk shit, give & ask for advice, and help each other get through the tough times with a laugh. Join the group HERE!

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