An ex-Coleg Llandrillo Engineering student who graduated last summer was recently awarded the title of 'Emerging Professional of the Year' by the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation.
Gareth Smith from Rhuddlan, who studied for his BEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering at the college's Rhos-on-Sea campus, won the coveted award for his technical paper on utilising recycled plastic in roadway construction. His ground-breaking research showed that plastics can be reused in a useful way and be a replacement for bitumen in roads, making them cheaper and more environmentally viable.
22-year-old Gareth is also the deputy mayor in his home town of Rhuddlan and has been a town councillor since he was 19-years-old!
He was presented with the award at the institute's annual awards dinner at the Kinmel Spa and Hotel in Abergele, where several awards were handed out, celebrating the achievements of the civil engineering industry in North Wales.
I was delighted to win the award and would like to thank the my tutors for helping me get to this stage in my career. College provided me with one-to-one support which I probably wouldn't have got at university. You can ask questions at any time, thus learning more than just an assignment offers you.
He originally enrolled on the BTEC in Construction course at Coleg Llandrillo's Rhos-on-Sea campus after completing his GCSEs at school. He was awarded a distinction grade on completion and got a job with engineering consultants Capita Symonds in Colwyn Bay.
He came back to Llandrillo to study for a BEng (Hons) Degree in Civil Engineering on a day-release basis. He graduated last summer with a first-class honours and has since changed jobs. He now works for Mott MacDonald, which are currently working with Conwy County Borough Council on the Colwyn Bay Waterfront Project.
Gareth lived in Prestatyn from birth until the age of two and has since resided in Rhuddlan. Ever since he was a child he has been inquisitive about the ever-changing built environment in Rhuddlan: housing developments, fast-food franchises, drainage systems and building layouts.
As a child I used to ask 'who has organised that?', 'what's happening there?', and in the end I realised that it all came under the umbrella of civil engineering! The town is really vibrant at the moment and I look forward to doing all I can to see it prosper even more.
A keen learner, Gareth initially started his construction journey as a 14-year-old whilst still at Ysgol Glan Clwyd, through a schools/college link course.
Gareth's tutor, David Roberto, who is also the higher education coordinator for Engineering at Coleg Llandrillo, said:
To have juggled his college studies with a job in construction and his role as a councillor is no mean feat, and we all congratulate him on his successes. Gareth who has done in his short 22 years more than most people in a lifetime.
The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) is a charity, learned society and membership body with 12 UK regions and a number of international groups. CIHT represents and qualifies professionals who plan, design, build, manage and operate transport and infrastructure, and is the natural home for all people working in highways and transportation infrastructure.
For more information on our courses in Engineering, please visit: www.gllm.ac.uk/engineering
Or call the college's Learner Services team on 01492 542 338.