Want to dominate in your trade and earn respect from others? Staying away from drugs and alcohol while you’re on the job will help you build your skills, perform at your best and impress your boss.

Trades workers need to be focused and safety-conscious. You’ll be working with power tools and machinery, solving problems that need attention to detail, and you might need to climb ladders or scaffolding. So to be ready for work, you need to be drug-free. Drug and alcohol awareness is part of learning how to work safely on-site.

You need to be focussed when on the tools

Why it matters
  • Most trades employers do drug and alcohol tests as part of their site safety practices. You’ll need to be able to pass these tests when you’re looking for a job, as well as ongoing tests that your employer might do. MPTT Navigator Tu Nu’uali’itia says these tests are now a prerequisite for securing employment. “The legal ramifications and the health and safety of the staff involved in the business are their most important priorities.”
  • It’s not just your career on the line. Making sure you’re sober at work is about keeping yourself and others safe.
  • Staying away from drugs and alcohol helps you stay fit and strong, both physically and mentally. You’ll be at your best and feel more motivated, which means you can do your best work on the job.
  • Drugs and alcohol are expensive – so by staying clean, you’ll have more spare cash.
What to do

As an MPTT trainee, our Navigators will work closely with you to help you get ready for work. As part of this, they’ll talk to you about drug and alcohol awareness.

“We make sure trainees understand the impact of drugs and alcohol on their career aspirations and the safety of others, as well as the negative health consequences,” says Tu. “We also give testimonies of employers’ experiences and provide information about support services.”

You can expect to be drug tested if you work in the trades – it’s now a routine part of health and safety – so you’ll need to be prepared, says Tu.

“If needed, we can provide pre-employment drug testing so students experience the process of testing and can address the reality of the choices they make having a direct impact on their job prospects.”

When you take the test, make sure you declare any medication you take, whether it’s prescribed by your doctor or an over-the-counter formula, because some medications can impact your test results.

Remember, drugs can take days, weeks or even months to leave your system (depending on the type of drug and level of use), so the best way to stay safe and achieve your career goals is to to avoid these substances. Most importantly, stay away from drugs and alcohol while you’re working, and be careful about what you do the night before – showing up to work hung over isn’t a good look, and can affect your ability to work safely.

If you are going to have a big night out, make it a Friday or Saturday so you’re alcohol free on Monday, and stay off the drugs – they’ll generally stay in your system much longer.

If you think you might need help to stay away from drugs or alcohol, there’s lots of support out there. Talk to one of our Navigators about how you can get started, or check out the services below.

Alcohol Drug Helpline

This helpline offers you free, confidential information and support over the phone. They can help you with any issue or question you have about your own or someone else’s drinking or drug taking. Call them on 0800 787 797.

Community Alcohol and Drug Services

This drug and alcohol counselling service is free for Māori and Pasifika in Auckland. Visit their website to find out about their support groups, counselling and consultation options.

Addiction Treatment Directory

The Addiction Treatment Directory website lists the addiction treatment and advice services available in New Zealand.

Did you miss our first blog about work readiness? Find out the number one thing you can do while you’re training to help you get a job later.