TWENTY-YEAR-OLD student Wallace Shanks, from Dunadry, County Antrim, is one of six winners of the coveted Institution of Civil Engineers Quest Technician Schol-arship 2020/2021.
This prestigious award is a recognition of the achievement and ambition of higher technicians in the civil engineering industry.
The scholarship is open to all eligible students across the Northern Ireland Region of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Applicants were required to complete a very comprehensive application form, focusing on academic achievement, industrial experience, and most importantly, career aspirations.
The shortlisted applicants were invited for interview by a panel of professionally qualified engineers. They were asked questions about experience, achievements and future plans.
Wallace Shanks achieved A levels in Technology, Maths and Geography, and decided that a High-Level Apprenticeship was how he wanted to progress with his degree.
South West College in Omagh offered Wallace a place on its fast-track course, allowing him to complete this part of his degree in two years, instead of three, as a Higher-Level Apprentice in Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Wallace is employed by Ballymena-based company Martin and Hamilton Construction, and has found that the High-Level Apprenticeship has been a practical and enjoyable way of completing his degree.
He said: “I have gained more experience working than I would have at university, and I am earning a good wage while I combine study and work. At the end of my degree I know that there will be more job opportunities because of the hands-on experience this course has given me.
“Being awarded this scholarship is a major personal achievement, which has spurred me on to keep working hard and achieve my goal.”
William Young, project officer for Civil Engineering at South West College, said: “Growing up on his family’s busy dairy farm has instilled a very sound work ethic in Wallace, which means he is totally reliable and can make important decisions without delay or too much reflection.
“This is an enduring quality of the traditional civil engineer, which is sometimes lost in these times of modern technology. Wallace is totally committed to his course of study and, as his tutor for Highways and Work-Based Learning, I can attest to his academic ability, industrial development and progression during the last 20 months at South West College.”