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Derek Hamilton

Published: 30/10/2020
Route: Accredited degree

Derek Hamilton photo

Name: Derek Hamilton BEng CEng MIMechE

Education and qualifications:

BEng Mechanical – Electronic Systems Engineering, Glasgow Caledonian University
National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) certified

Job title:
Infrastructure Maintenance Engineer

Network Rail

Please describe your role or position within your workplace.
I head up the Infrastructure Maintenance function for my area in Network Rail and lead a team of four direct reports who each manage their own teams. My key responsibility is applying my engineering and technical knowledge to ensure best performance so that the train operating companies can keep to their timetables. Beyond the core engineering for safety and performance of the infrastructure assets, I also have budget responsibility as well as competence and team development responsibility.

Please provide a brief outline of your career so far.
I started work with Network Rail as a labourer and progressed by undertaking operational and technical roles in the company. In 2011 I moved to an engineering position, Assistant Track Maintenance Engineer, until 2016 when I was promoted to Track Maintenance Engineer gaining a further promotion in 2017 to my current role.

What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?
Working in an engineering field and having a degree in an engineering subject, I felt that I had accomplished a lot in my early years. In order to challenge myself further I started on my journey towards Chartered Engineer, stepping from Engineering Technician (EngTech) to Incorporated Engineer (IEng) with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). I considered that I needed to become professionally registered in order to rubber stamp my career to date.

Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
Do it! There is work to do but the process is more straightforward than you would think and the rewards mean so much more to you as an individual than just letters after your name. The application process alone changed my way of thinking and gave me the confidence to do the right thing in my current role.

The information on my institution’s website and support from existing CEngs helped me to understand the application process. My degree meant I already met some of the educational requirements, requiring only a two stage Career Learning Assessment. I realised that my day-to-day engineering role and the decisions that I was making could be used as part of my application. Additional reading was insightful and made me reflect on the job I was doing and the responsibilities that I had.

It was a challenge translating my real-life experience to fill in my application form and the interview portion was daunting initially, however it was conducted in a very friendly manner. I have never wanted an interview to go well as much as my CEng one. Thankfully, I gave a good enough account of myself. Becoming an Infrastructure Maintenance Engineer and registered as a CEng really opened my eyes. It is a great achievement to finally complete the process, although the CPD element will never stop.