Tamara Chapman is a Failure Investigation Team Leader at Rolls-Royce. She graduated with a PhD from Imperial College in 2016.

Tamara ChapmanWhat is a typical day in your job?

My current position is so varied and I love that I can interact with engineers from several different specialties on a daily basis. Failure Investigation (or Forensic Analysis as some places call it) is such an exciting field and really does require a holistic approach to problem solving. It is a truly hands-on job where it’s not uncommon to spend the day in steel toe cap boots and a face shield, angle grinding your way through a large chunk of hardware as you search for the root cause of the failure.

What did you do before you got this job?

Prior to this job I worked for Rolls-Royce as a nuclear materials engineer in the nuclear submarines industry.

What do you wish you knew before you started looking for this type of job?

I was lucky to stumble across this career path but may not have even known this kind of job existed. Finding a mentor within an industry that you’re interested in could be really helpful to make you aware of different opportunities.

What do you think the most important skills are for someone in your role?

To be curious and always open to learning new things.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

The variable nature of the job, using lots of different scientific equipment and engineering tools on a daily basis. I love being a “hands-on” engineer.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Winning an award for one of my scientific papers and flying out to a conference in Phoenix, Arizona to collect my award.

What do you hope to do in the future?

I am still not 100% sure, but I do know that I want to at least keep some aspect of a technical role as I progress through my career. Currently I am interested in progressing towards becoming a technical specialist at Rolls-Royce.

What’s your advice for someone looking for this type of job?

Try to find an opportunity to join a summer school or internship with a company in your industry of interest. This will allow you to meet people who may be able to mentor you in the future and give you some guidance as you progress through an engineering career. I would also say there are so many different routes in a career to the same overall goals, so keep open minded!