Bell Decorating Group MAs brush up on ‘I am the Machine’

Bell MAs stretching it out

Bell Decorating Group MAs brush up on ‘I am the Machine’

Modern Apprentices from Bell Decorating Group brushed up on techniques to prevent back injury throughout their future careers recently.

A total of 16 Painting and Decorating MAs from the popular, well respected and forward thinking national firm, were introduced to the ‘I am the Machine’ back care programme at Forth Valley College on Wednesday 23 January. A group of 10 sports students from HND Health and Fitness course were on hand to guide them through their paces.

The workshop’s aim is to highlight the importance of improving physical and mental wellbeing by reducing musculoskeletal injuries in the workforce through MOT for work, pre-work warm-up and post-work cool-down - along with back care exercises.

In signing their MAs up to ‘I am the Machine’ programme Bell Decorating Group have shown themselves to be progressive sector leaders in recognising the importance of helping their workforce to keep fit and healthy.

The initiative has been progressing well since the pilot and not only the construction industry but office based staff are starting to recognise the benefits of the workshops.

Developed jointly by Sports and Fitness Lecturer Michelle Hamilton with the help of Construction colleagues Peter Nally, Colin Scott, Graeme Williamson and Kevin Bonner – it has now been successfully piloted across the college from MAs, full time students and evening students within the construction areas.  T

Alarmingly data from the pilot has revealed that 56.3% of Construction students taking part already carry injury. But, more importantly, it has also indicated improvements in back care among the initial apprentices who undertook the programme.

Director of Health and Safety, Richard Wilks from Bell Decorating Group, said: ‘Back pain is a major health concern for workers and is likely to affect 80% of adults in Britain during their lifetime.  We believe health in the workplace is just as important as safety and to this end we have introduced a ‘Wellbeing programme’ accessible to all our workforce to encourage and promote long term good health and wellbeing for all.”

Michelle, said: “We were delighted to welcome the MAs from Bell Decorating Group and introduce them to the benefits of the ‘I am the Machine’ programme. We are confident that these simple stretches and exercises will help them recover from injury and reduce the risk of them hurting themselves in the first place.

“For the past few years we have been trying to change the mind-set of young people, to help them recognise that warming up before work and cooling down after work - along with back care exercises - are vital to reduce back and joint injuries.  During the workshop we also successfully completed health screening and fitness testing painter MAs.

“What we hope to do now is to meet with more potential employers to discuss the importance of safe exercise, warm-up and cool downs with workers and hope that our students will deliver warm-ups to their colleagues in the workplace.”

Forth Valley College Principal Dr Ken Thomson, said: “It was great to see how highly Bell Decorating Group think about I am the Machine, by sending their MAs in to be put through their paces. Initiatives such as these show how forward thinking we are here at Forth Valley College.

“We are proud to offer excellent academic and vocational training and qualifications, but it is also very important to help our Modern Apprentices to look after themselves in the workplace. Michelle and the Construction lecturers should be congratulated on developing this innovative warm-up and cool down programme, that will help prevent back pain in the next generation of Construction professionals.”

To view a film promoting I am the Machine visit


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