What Does It Take To Be An F̶e̶m̶a̶l̶e̶ Engineer?


Throughout my career I have been seeking to ‘narrow my field’. I presently work within the engineering testing, inspection and certification sector. An area bounded with law and tied into the conformity assessment and safety of engineering products. It sounds quite specific, and specialised, right?! I don’t think so!

This is my story and it is a story. I absolutely promise and commit that there will be nothing seriously technical. I am still not sure I have a ‘technical edge’ and if I do then I certainly am not aware of it. If I had to enter Mastermind and choose a technical or engineering subject then I am not sure I have one. Certainly not in the field that I work within, though I am pretty good with colours of horses and dog breeds.

In the latest chapter of my career, and being closer to retirement than graduation, I have realised that my specialism probably isn’t my technical nous (or lack of it) but rather just simply me.

I consider myself successful, though how we measure success is variable so you may not agree. Regardless, I am going to reflect on my career and personal development, and what I feel has been useful in how I approach technical problems and people.


Caroline Hamilton is Chief Executive of the Safety Assessment Federation and is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer. Caroline joined the Safety Assessment Federation in March 2020 with a career background in manufacturing and nuclear decommissioning consultancy providing a wealth of consultative, problem solving and people skills, and technical insight into a wide range of regulatory requirements. Caroline is also the Chair of the Policy Advisory Forum and Policy Advisory Council at the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

SAFed is the trade association which represents the UK independent engineering inspection and certification industry, whose members play a key role in maintaining high standards of safety within the workplace.