A West Midlands Railway (WMR) apprentice technician has won “female apprentice of the year” at the 2023 Women in Rail awards.

Rio Pearce, 21, from Rowley Regis in the UK scooped the award whilst in her third and final year as an apprentice for WMR at Tyseley depot.

Rio’s hands-on role includes the diagnosis and repair of train faults as well as safety-critical briefings and working closely with technicians.

Working 12-hour shift patterns, including early starts and late finishes, Rio’s commitment to the job and determination to thrive in the rail industry has shone through and her confidence has grown to the extent that she is admired by young apprentices across the business.

Rio received her award at a gala presentation evening in London, where she recognised alongside inspirational female rail employees from across the UK.

“I am thrilled that Rio has deservedly won female apprentice of the year at the Women in Rail awards and everybody at West Midlands Railway is very proud of her. Rio is an outstanding apprentice who has pushed back boundaries and paved the way many more young women to join the rail industry in coming years.”, says Jonny Wiseman, West Midlands Railway customer experience director.

Founded in 2015, the West Midlands Trains is a train operating company in the United Kingdom operating passenger trains on the West Midlands franchise between London and the English Midlands.

“I am delighted to win this award and I would say to anyone who wants to get into engineering or the railway to go for it. I don’t think being a female apprentice is much different from being a male apprentice. I get on with everyone really well, there’s no stereotyping, everyone is super friendly, and we all treat each other equally and with respect.”, says Rio Pearce.

More information on the Women in Rail awards can be viewed here.

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