Young tradie’s entrepreneurial journey inspires struggling students

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
5 Min Read

A young Aussie tradie is now inspiring struggling school students, launching a million-dollar company just years after his teachers warned he wouldn’t amount to anything.

School was never easy for Sydney tradie David Chahine. Battling behavioural problems and finding it hard to fit into the traditional education system, his family and friends became gravely concerned about his future.

Feeling ignored and pushed aside, David struggled with any class that required students to sit still at a desk “pushing a pen”.

David told Build-it that his inability to learn by traditional teaching methods saw him expelled ten times, placing him in the company of some of the state’s most troublesome students.

“Just because I couldn’t sit still in the class, they would just send me off elsewhere – then I would meet over kids who were much worse than me, and I started mixing the wrong crowd,” he said.

“I went to 3 different primary schools, and even in high school, I only lasted two terms in the first two schools. After that, it was just behaviour schools.”

David says he was even sent to schools for students with learning difficulties after teachers had enough of his inability to focus.

“The teachers tried to say I had ADHD and make me take pills for it,” he said.

People learn in different ways

Despite others losing faith in his future, David began to question the education environment ahead of his ability to learn and be successful.

“I didn’t hate all of it. My favourite class in high school was woodwork,” he told Build-it.

“I would struggle in every class that required you to sit still, but when it came to woodwork, I was the first to arrive and really invested.”

Those subtle differences were noticed by David’s father, Elias Chahine, a builder by profession, who decided to take David out of school early.

“David was a real problem child, we were extremely worried about his future,” Elias said.

“After consulting with the priest at the local Catholic Church, we made the decision to take him out of school and bring him into construction.”

Construction the saviour for some school strugglers

Fast forward a decade, and that decision proves to be a masterstroke as David is now the founder and CEO of his own million-dollar construction company.

After years of learning his craft, David launched Primal Glass Replacement in 2020, a Sydney-based company specialising in replacement glass services.

David says even he is surprised how an inability to thrive in a conventional classroom would eventually pave the way for such entrepreneurship success.

“I faced many challenges, but I was determined to build something of my own. I never thought it would grow to what it is today,” he explained.

“The journey has been filled with long days and countless challenges, but seeing the company grow and make a difference in the industry has been incredibly rewarding.”

“I’m grateful for the support of my family and the guidance I received along the way. It’s a testament to what can be achieved with hard work, determination, and a supportive community.”

No career path is easy

David’s journey highlights the transformative power of vocational education and inspires those whose dreams lie beyond the confines of conventional education.

But David warned young Build-it readers that while alternative education environment pathways and a more hands-on approach might provide some students with a more productive learning environment, success still depended on wanting to change and working hard.

“To those struggling in the traditional school system, I would tell them it may seem like rainy days now, but there are always brighter days, and it doesn’t stay raining forever,” he said.

“Sometimes you have to put your foot down and take a risk to stop being miserable.”

“But remember, regardless of what you do, if you’re not prepared to work hard, you’re not going to have success.”

Looking ahead, David hopes to give back to the community by establishing a mentorship program next year, drawing from his own experiences to guide other children who struggle with conventional classroom learning.

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.