From small town Taranaki to driving hundreds of Wellington rail commuters

Wellington train driver Rose Taikato

A career change proves rewarding for one of our newest train drivers in Wellington, Rose Taikato.

Rose Taikato is the latest train driver to graduate after an intensive nine months of training.

Rose came to the role after a tough few years with the tragic death of some family members and close friends, which made her realise life was too short and she wanted to make some major changes.

After 17 years living in the small town of Patea and working with local Iwi as a Kaumatua Program Coordinator, she started a search further afield for a new job. Patea had been a great place to bring up her four children but she felt it was time to leave the small town.

One of the many roles she applied for was a train driver in Wellington. It took two and a half months to get through the various levels of testing, but one by one, she passed and progressed through to the training school.

While it wasn’t necessarily a job she would have thought to apply for, she is really glad she did. “I wish I’d found this job 10 years ago. It’s nice to get a good job with good pay, and even be able to help others out.

When I started I was impressed by the number of staff who have worked here for 30, 40, even 50 years, which is proof that it must be a great role and place to work or people wouldn’t stay for so long. There are lots of great people here including the trainers and tutors.”

Rose describes learning to drive a train like learning a whole new language:  “The rules, codes and engineering details of how a train works and how to troubleshoot technical issues are very different to driving a car on the road. The Locomotive Engineer training process also involves lots of supervised driving hours. Each time I had a new tutor I would be nervous that they would be really tough, but each tutor made me feel comfortable within the first hour, and each tutor taught me something different.”

Rose brings a wealth of life experience to the role, with four children who have now all moved out of home and are independent, two of which have children of their own. “My kids are really proud of me. My oldest daughter is now keen to take steps to become a driver over in Australia where she lives.”

Rose would encourage anyone looking for a new job to apply, particularly Maori, female and those living in small towns who might not typically think to apply.

“You can do anything you put your mind to –  I hadn’t even dreamed of becoming a train driver, but now here I am qualified and driving hundreds of rail passengers!”

“Transdev welcomes Rose to the team! It’s great to have an enthusiastic new driver on board. Our trainers, tutors and Team Leaders have nothing but good things to say about Rose. We hope she has a long and satisfying driving career in Wellington, like so many who have come before her,” says Transdev’s Managing Director, Ian Ladd.  



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