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Australia - Ben Oakley (The Manor 1990 - 1995)

St Peter's 13-18

Australia - Ben Oakley (The Manor 1990 - 1995)

I really enjoyed my time at St Peter's and although it's been a long time since I left, I still keep in touch with quite a few friends from school. Some of us are spread out in different countries around the world but we still manage to catch up every year or two – usually when I come back to visit my family in England, but sometimes in Australia or other places. You perhaps don’t fully realise it whilst you are there, but when you are boarding, your friends basically become like your family. Even if you haven’t seen some of them for years, when you catch up, it's like it was only yesterday. I was in Manor House and had a great time there – John Bullcock was our housemaster for most of the time until Paddy Stephen took over – both of them did a great job and were really nice people. I think we were pretty hard work so they definitely earnt their money looking after us!

St Peter's is an amazing place – the people, teachers, facilities, opportunities and experiences are all extraordinary and I feel very lucky to have been able to go there. I seem to remember always playing some kind of sport – rugby, tennis, squash, swimming, cross-country, football – no wonder we were always making toast in the evenings!

After I left St Peter's, I went to Durham University and studied engineering which I didn’t really enjoy, then worked in I.T. for a bit, which I also didn’t enjoy! Then I did a couple of ski seasons in Canada which I definitely enjoyed, then drove a truck in London and worked in tele-sales for a while, before moving to Australia where I ended up working in recruitment. I now co-own a boutique recruitment company with offices in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne – we specialise in recruitment for Engineering, Mining, Oil & Gas and Executive Search.

Australia is a great country with lots of opportunities – it’s a nice place to raise a family and the weather is amazing – its much easier getting up and going to work on a Monday when its 30C and the sun is shining!  I live in Perth which is on the West Coast and is a bit more laid back and relaxed than Sydney (which is basically like a sunny version of London!) I didn’t work in recruitment in England, but I believe it's much more relationship driven over here and much less cut throat – the Aussies are a friendly bunch and most of them will give you the time of day – even if there is a bit of a friendly rivalry!

I think it's difficult, if not impossible to know what you want to do in life when you are 17/18 years old and I certainly did not think I would end up living in Australia, working in recruitment or running a business but I am very happy with how things have panned out for me and I think my time a St Peter's definitely helped to give me the skills, knowledge and opportunity to get where I am today.

Ben and animal