Selhurst rail engineer wins multicultural apprentice prize

The feeling of rejection can be hard to handle, but Maro Sakpere used his knockback as an opportunity to enter the world of rail another way.

Selhurst winner: Maro Sakpere was named the winner of the engineering apprentice category

Four years on and Sakpere has just picked up the transport and logistics apprentice of the year prize at the Multicultural Apprenticeship Awards staged in Birmingham.

Sakpere, 36, who lives in Croydon and works for Southern at the Selhurst railway depot, was up against seven other finalists to bag the award at the prestigious ceremony .

“I wanted to take the next step in my career, and see more people from underrepresented groups in leadership and management roles, so I put myself forward for this apprenticeship,” Sakpere said.

“The engineering department, my tutors and assessor have been very supportive throughout my training, which has helped to keep me motivated.”

Sakpere initially applied for an engineering role with Southern but was unsuccessful. He tried a different approach and later landed a job as a platform assistant in 2018. With more railway experience under his belt, Sakpere finally broke into engineering in 2019, following a further two applications.

“Engineering was always the dream, but I decided to work towards it in a different way. I’m glad I did, because working at stations gave me a hands-on experience in rail and broadened my knowledge of the industry.”

Sakpere, who has a mechanical engineering degree, explained how his setbacks have taught him many valuable lessons on his journey to become a service engineer.

“A lot of people say this, but never give up. Failure gives me an opportunity to figure out another way, so never give up, always believe in yourself and when one door closes another one surely opens if you keep on pushing yourself.

“My nine-year-old son has a passion for engineering and trains and wants to follow in my footsteps. Winning the award was extra special because it shows him that if you keep working hard, you can achieve great things.”

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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