As acting chief engineer, Kamini Edgley is one of Network Rail’s most senior employees.

She looks after the engineering functions within Network Rail, acting as technical authority.

This International Women in Engineering Day, Kamini joined nine colleagues working in and supporting engineering to inspire girls and young women to explore dynamic and varied careers in engineering:

We find out what the railway means to her and the best advice she has ever received

What does your role involve?

I’m accountable for setting out the strategy and the policies for engineering and asset management within Network Rail, and deliver really world-class engineering strategy to make sure that as a railway, we perform for our passengers.

Why do you love your job?

Having the ability to make a difference.

What excites you about working in rail?

Both the challenges and opportunities it offers.

What inspires you to work in this industry?

The contribution the industry makes to society by moving people and freight.

What were you like as a child?

I always loved problem solving and I always enjoyed leadership roles… I was very inquisitive, wanting to fix things, and at school I was always the school captain, head girl, president of school council so that was me as a child.

It’s the unknown and the art of the possible; engineering and technology changes so much. I remember being fascinated with planes as a child and also with Lego, which granted, was a lot simpler than the one my six-year old plays with nowadays.

What’s been your most exciting project while working at Network Rail?

The West-Coast Modernisation project, especially the re-modelling of Milton Keynes where we are based. [It was] seeing the transformation and being part of it, where you are injecting more capacity, reliability and making journeys a lot more enjoyable for passengers.

What are some of the challenges with your role?

From a technical perspective – we receive the hardest challenges that no one else can resolve within the company, so it’s about bringing in cutting edge technology to change the way of working. The challenge is making an old Victorian infrastructure meet today’s needs and demands. The opportunity is how, with the use of technology and modern advances, you are changing the experience of passengers and also making it a much safer place for people to work.

How do you motivate yourself when you feel under pressure?

I excel under pressure – it’s achieving the end goal that motivates me.

What drives you to succeed at anything you do?

The effort will be worth the outcome.

Why would you tell a young person science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) are exciting?

STEM is everywhere. It’s everywhere you look in our society… STEM enables us to live the life we do today – you’ve got Xbox, you’ve got WiFi, you’ve got all this technology you enjoy. That would not be possible without STEM subjects. If we see how fast technology is moving, it’s very exciting because you don’t know what’s around the corner.

What’s it like working with the younger generation?

I love it. I was a graduate trainee once, when I left university. It’s really exciting because they really come up with new ideas and I do promote a Year in Industry… It’s about showing them how they contribute, the value they can add.

Do you have any mantras?

Trust your instincts and believe in yourself.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

It’s not work/life balance, it’s life balance.

What advice would you give girls and young women today?

Never give up and dream big.