Hello. My name is Adam Pate and I was an Apprentice

The year was 2000 and I was embarking on a new adventure – adulthood! Questions around what I wanted to be when I grew up suddenly took on a new meaning as I was grown up and needed to become what I wanted to be.

But what was that? A study of my ambitions was undertaken.

Was dirt bike stuntman the career for me? What were the qualifications needed to be the next Terminator? How about rugby mega star? After careful consideration, I decided to pursue the latter. Being a sensible kind of guy, however, I put a backup in place and began an apprenticeship in construction. The plan worked well. I trained and played with my team three evenings a week after work, travelling an hour and a half each way, which was quite intense as I was working hard on my apprenticeship during the day.

In just a few months of my apprenticeship, I learned valuable life lessons from my mentor that have stayed with me to this day, I developed an appreciation for the progress of my skills, and got satisfaction from seeing the results of my hard work.

My 3 years working through my apprenticeship, developing my skills and gaining qualifications wasn’t always easy but I knew I was building (if you’ll pardon the pun) a potential future for myself. The job satisfaction from seeing a project from its on-paper beginnings through to real-life completion was amazing. It was exhausting but in a good way and provided me with a living while my rugby career took off.

In 2004, injury ended my meteoric rise to rugby super stardom and I had to consider my options again. My ambitions took shape over time and I was determined to set out on my own. In 2006, I became a sole trader and then, in 2008, I founded my own company, Croft View Construction, with the aim of being the best.

In my years in the trade, I have seen construction companies who seemed to view their customers and their projects as an inconvenience only tolerated because they were the source of the next cheque. I loved my job, I loved meeting people and, I loved finding that perfect solution to the customer’s needs. My goal when I started Croft View Construction was to involve customers in every stage and form a collaborative relationship so their requirements were always met with the minimum stress and the maximum satisfaction.

That core vision hasn’t always been easy to maintain but by working hard to keep the customers at the heart of my work, Croft View Construction expanded and succeeded where others did not during the recession. We do have collaborative relationships with customers, we do take their projects from concept to construction, and we do all that with a smile.

It’s been so rewarding to see the team here grow and grow. The team is full of specialists at the top of their game and hardworking apprentices on track to join them at the top. And I am not the only over achieving former apprentice on the team, most of them started out as apprentices. One of our joiners, Joe Birch, competed in CITB’s SkillBuild when he was an apprentice, coming second in 2009’s regional final and first in 2010’s regional final at the age of 18. He is now one of our foremen and looks after his own projects from concept to construction.

There is a special kind of satisfaction at being in a position now to see apprentices in my own team thrive, knowing that they are learning from the best and getting the kind of life lessons I learned from my mentor.

I would encourage anyone to think about an apprenticeship as the pathway into their career. You actually earn money rather than accruing debt and you have a job from day one that will hopefully be the start of a long and happy career in whatever field that interests you. There are all kinds of apprenticeships these days and they really do offer brilliant opportunities. I may not have started out with construction as my main focus but I couldn’t be happier with how my life turned out.

My back up career developed into something truly spectacular that I can take pride in even though sometimes I do still wonder if Sarah and John Connor would have been safer if I had been the Terminator…

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