Career switch to chase childhood dream
One year ago, Mark Smith gave up a career in IT to chase his childhood dream of becoming a train driver – this week he graduated as Metlink’s newest Locomotive Engineer.
Mark was given the green light by Transdev who operate services on behalf of Metlink, with his first trip being on the Johnsonville Line.
Although he had spent five years in the IT industry, Mark always knew he wanted to pursue a career in rail and his team leaders say he took to train driving “like a duck to water”.
“I’ve wanted to be a train driver since I was a kid, so my family wasn’t surprised when I decided to sign up. My dad had wanted to be a train driver too but he never did it.
“My favourite line to drive on is the Kapiti Line – it has a bit of everything, including fast pace and good views.
“The study to become a driver is quite difficult but if you put the work in, you’re going to succeed. There were four of us going through the training together and we had a good team.”
Mark says the best thing about being a driver is “the feeling at the end of a morning trip when you open the door at Wellington station. You see hundreds of people who have trusted you to bring them into work”.
At Mark’s graduation, his team leaders offered some words of advice saying “the learning doesn’t end here”. He will now continue on a 12 month support programme with Transdev.