Young council talent scoops award from Institution of Civil Engineering

One of Telford & Wrekin Council’s bright young talents has scooped a major award from the Institution of Civil Engineering (ICE).

Young council talent scoops award from Institution of Civil Engineering

Gareth Rushton, 24, was nominated by the University of Wolverhampton to receive the ICE West Midlands Technicians Award for his excellent performance in the final year of his Civil Engineering Higher National Certificate.

The municipal engineer, who has worked for the council for nearly four years, was presented with his prize by ICE President Professor Tim Broyd at a glittering awards dinner at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham last night. (Wed 17 May)

Angie Astley, Telford & Wrekin Council’s assistant director for Neighbourhood and Customer Services, said: “Gareth fully deserves this recognition because of how hard he has worked, both on the qualification and in his day job.

“He is a shining example of what can be achieved by hard work and dedication and other young people seeking a career in engineering could do a lot worse than follow his lead. I am very proud of him.” 

Yvonne Aust, ICE West Midlands Chair 2016-17 said: “I congratulate Gareth on his achievement. I am impressed by his commitment, enthusiasm and drive and am confident and reassured that the industry is in good hands with young engineers such as Gareth emerging in our industry.

“Our great Institution will be 200 years old in 2018. Next year we'll be celebrating the progress that has been made since we were founded and we are looking forward to the great opportunities and challenges which lie ahead, and the role civil engineers like Gareth can play in shaping the society of the future.

“I congratulate the winners of our 2017 Awards and all 26 entrants. These awards are a chance for them to feel proud of their hard work and dedication which often goes unnoticed by the general public.”

Gareth has been completing his HNC – partly sponsored by Telford & Wrekin Council – on a day release basis.

The course included modules on structural mechanics, the principles of design, site surveying, mathematics for technologists, professional skills and management and the fundamentals of geotechnics.

Gareth was told the news that he had won the award by his Head of Department for Civil Engineering Peter Mills, who said he had had been recognised for being one of the university’s top performing engineering students.

“I feel extremely honoured to have won the award,” said Gareth today. “I love my job and I find being an engineer challenging and fascinating and I am very proud to have my work on the course recognised by the ICE.”

In his day job, Gareth is responsible for a number of projects including the management of the Stoneyhill closed landfill site near Jiggers Bank island and borough-wide management of Telford’s colliery spoil mounds.

“Both projects are fascinating in their own way – the landfill site is filled with historic waste that decomposes and produces a liquid which is then treated on site before being discharged to Severn Trent Water’s sewer for disposal.

“Colliery spoil mounds are more commonly known as slag heaps and include the waste materials from the region’s mining legacy.  My work is all about maintaining site safety and risk management of these public areas.

“As an engineer, it’s fascinating because no two mounds behave exactly the same – often depending on the underlying geology, individual slope stability and water levels within the mound. The combination of these factors means every mound has to be inspected, assessed and risks mitigated individually.

“Telford’s industrial past effectively comes creeping up on us and we are constantly batting underground movement in various parts of the borough.”

Gareth is also very proud of his involvement with the £17m Jackfield Stabilisation Project as a site supervisor, a project which was also shortlisted for an award last night.

And is there any particular part of his HNC that stands out to him as a highlight? “The geotechnics coursework – I scored 90 per cent and absolutely loved it.” he says.