FVC have got your back!

Back-up plan

FVC have got your back!

An initiative to help reduce injury for tradesmen of the future is being backed and supported by Forth Valley College.

A team effort between the Departments of Care, Health and Sport and Construction have developed the ‘I am the Machine’ back care programme. It aims to change the mind-set of young people so they recognise that pre-work warm-up and post-work cool-down - along with back care exercises - are vital to reduce the amount of back or joint injuries to Modern Apprentices (MAs) and young people working in labour intensive industry. 

The initiative also ties in with Back Care awareness Week which takes place  from Monday 2 to Friday 6 October http://www.backcare.org.uk/news/back-care-awareness-week-2-6-october-2017/

The programme – which was developed jointly by Sports and Fitness Lecturer Michelle Hamilton with the help of Construction colleagues Peter Nally, Colin Scott, Graeme Williamson and Kevin Bonner - has now been successfully piloted with all bricklaying and painting and decorating MAs and full-time students, as well as with the learners on the Skills for Work programme. FVC’s Leisure Facilities Coordinator Waimun Lee has also been helping the Construction students with exercise programmes if they attend the gym.

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.

Michelle, said: “For the past two 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 initiative, we also successfully completed health screening, fitness testing and programme design with bricklaying and painters MAs.

“What we hope to do now is to meet with 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.

“Last week we started warming up as part of the ‘tool box talk’ with bricklaying apprentices in the workshops and will be continuing with this format next week hoping to roll it out to painting and decorators and plumbers.”

Ian Morrison, Head of Construction at FVC, said: “I know for a fact that the lecturers in the Department of Construction are very excited by this idea. The pleasing thing is that most of the students have bought into the concept and realise just how valuable these warm-ups will be as they progress through their working lives. I have spent all my working life in the Construction industry and have many colleagues and friends who have been hampered by back pain. I know how it can affect individuals and companies in terms of time off work and I am confident this programme can change mind-sets and help to reduce injuries.”

 Forth Valley College Principal Dr Ken Thomson, said: “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.”

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