Leaving School With Jacob Chapple

Current location: Narrabeen, NSW


Did you have any idea about what you wanted to do when you finished school? Has it changed at all?

I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do at first, all I knew is that I didn’t want to be at school. I always enjoyed being outside and working with my hands, so I had a job in construction in the back of my mind. My dad was a roof tiler so I also had that as a back up. Once I started my carpentry apprenticeship I was lucky enough to be working with some really good guys and I really enjoyed it. I’ve never looked back; I scored a good job with some great guys, I was getting paid well and everything sort of fell into place. I’ve always been happy with the choice I made. Just super lucky I guess.

Would you say there is a lot of pressure on young people to have their whole lives figured out and be ‘successful’ straight after school? If so, what do you think is a contributing factor to this?

I’d say there is definitely pressure to have your life figured out and be on the path to being “successful”. But I think this pressure comes mostly from yourself and the people around you. As I said I was lucky to land a good job straight away and move up the “food chain” quickly. But it didn’t go that way for the majority of my peers. I’ve had countless conversations with friends about how they wish they knew what they wanted to do like me, they are unsure of what they want to be doing; some have started several uni courses or trades only to drop out. But I think everyone is different; some people need to step back and take a year to find out what it is they really want to do, while others can jump right into something they are passionate about and make a career out of it.

What was the first few years out of school like for you? Would you do anything differently?

The first few years out of school were great for me and they flew by. As I was working and most of my friends were still at school, the hardest part was knowing they were all hanging out at school, and having a good time whilst I was working. But I was making money and enjoying what I was doing so I have no regrets.

Do you remember what your biggest fear/fears where during this transition time?

I don’t know if I had many fears really, but like most people, I worried about struggling to find a job or that I’d regret the decision of leaving school and either have to return or find something else to do with my life.

From your experience in this transition, what would you tell anyone going through the same thing now?

I’d let them know that they don’t have to know what they are going to do with their lives straight away, or fall in love with the first job they get, even if they thought that’s what they always wanted to do. Just be sure that whatever you end up doing you are passionate about and that you genuinely like going to work.

What are you doing now and are you happy?

Yes, I’d say I’m definitely on the right path now. I’ve had plenty of good and bad experiences in life, like everyone, but they have made me ambitious and determined to achieve my best and have definitely shaped my life and led me to where I am today.

Interview by Sanchia Gillies

Any information on this blog is not a substitute for professional advice. It is written from personal experience and research only. If you are in crisis, go to your nearest emergency room, call lifeline on 13 11 14 or dial 000.

Leanne Westlake