“Most people think leaving school before you’re finished will be detrimental to your career,” says Blake.
“I choose to look at my decision to leave school as having a strong understanding of who I was as a person. School wasn’t for me I needed something more practical. “I finished my apprenticeship in 2008 and by 2013 I had started my business Platinum Plumbing. “The willingness to work hard and the determination to know how to change a stumbling block into a stepping stone can be the difference between success and failure.
“I chose to complete an apprenticeship in plumbing and drainlaying because that is where my interest lay. I don’t believe in being stuck in a job you don’t love for the rest of your working life. You have to love what you do. It has to inspire you to push yourself, always aiming for bigger and better things,” he says. Continual professional development is important in the working world. It is definitely essential in the plumbing and drainlaying industry in order to retain registered plumber status and Blake continued his learning beyond his base qualification.
Blake chose to explore all facets of the plumbing and drainlaying industry while at the same time completing a bachelor’s degree at Unitec in construction economics and management.
“There are daily challenges when running your own business ranging from contractual agreements, interpreting designs and general business logistics with people, materials and clients.
“I wanted to have a really holistic understanding of running a business before I started,” says Blake.
“When you’re a boss the game changes. You’re responsible for the success of your business, if you take on employees you’re responsible for their learning and careers.
“It becomes more than just getting up and going to a job. You want to build something great, something that gives back. Something that lasts.
“I always knew I would take on apprentices – having done an apprenticeship I knew the value it gives, you learn more than you could out of any book – plus you’re immersed daily in the career you’re working hard to learn.
“I have two apprentices and five other guys on my crew and they all have a keenness to take the initiative, interest in solving problems other people can’t.
“I look at apprenticeships as being beneficial for all involved. I get to help mould amazing plumbers, they get to learn in a proactive, positive environment, the industry gets great new talent and New Zealand gets quality tradies in successful businesses.
“The work is incredibly rewarding, a great variety of locations, small jobs to large scale complex, specialist jobs and we have a great team culture,” says Blake.
“Anyone who is contemplating a job in the trades needs to do it because they love a challenge, they want to work in different environments and they are motivated to succeed.
“Every day I wake up and head into work I’m thankful I chose the path I did,” he says.