A few days ago, one of my sons finished his course (and in effect his school life), and is now ready to enter the workforce. He literally has the world at his feet, and the future of his career in his hands. It’s an exciting, but also scary time.
For those who know our men-children, we made the decision over 12 months ago to let one of our sons leave school at the end of Year 10 and undertake a VCAL/Pre-apprenticeship course. The academic life wasn’t for him (no matter how bright he is) and life as a “tradie” was begging. He has spent the last 9 months at TAFE, doing a building course and to his credit thoroughly enjoying it (that’s the practical side of things, it’s fair to say he still didn’t love the academic requirements, no matter how basic).
In that time of “adult learning” they have taught them all manner of skills, both building related and not, and undertaken a vast range of modules, including green bowling (I kid you not), and community oriented activities such as teaching kids in schools. I think our son has learned things about himself, and also about others. He has certainly been exposed to a life outside of his sheltered private school upbringing (always a good thing) and probably has a new sense of appreciation for how fortunate he is. This particular man-child has always been pragmatic and pretty down to earth, so I don’t think he’s been too far outside his comfort zone. I have to say though, I’d like to send his twin brother along to TAFE for a short time – it might open his eyes a bit more!!!
So where to from here for our future “tradie”? He has a part-time job he will continue, whilst he looks for an apprenticeship. We have encouraged him to contact everyone he knows to make them aware he is job hunting, and also to seek recommendations from his lecturers. I have also ensured that he realises it’s a tough employment market, and it might take a while to find an apprenticeship – not wanting to dull his enthusiasm – quite the opposite, to create a sense of urgency.
To the credit of our man-child, I am not at all concerned about him. I know he has found his “thing” (how fortunate at 17 years old) and I have confidence he will do well in his chosen field. I know he is not afraid of hard work, and therefore will be rewarded with success in due course. He has also come to the realisation that his desire to leave home as soon as possible might be thwarted in the short-term, now that he has learned exactly how little the hourly rate is for an apprentice!! As I said, if you want the ute, and have to pay for petrol, there won’t be much left for anything else (secretly of course I am happy about the chance to keep him at home a little longer – REALLY!!)
I told him the other day that we are extremely proud of him for completing his course and following his heart – I hope it confirms how much we believe in him, no matter how often we disagree about mundane details in our daily lives.
So onto the next chapter – whatever that brings. I can’t help but share in the excitement of what might be around the corner for him…..I will worry when I need to, but just not now.
Our decision to let him leave school early wasn’t easy, but we survived the journey. Read more below: