University of Bath student Ana Johnson Portales has received a prestigious award from the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) for her outstanding performance during a placement year as part of her MEng course in civil engineering.

Ana, who lives in Bath, received the accolade for her achievements while working with Skanska UK in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire – and with the current shortage of skills in the civil engineering industry, she has a bright future ahead of her.

Ana won her award for the quality of her work with Skanska, notably in helping deliver the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme – one of the UK’s largest road projects. She gained experience in the company’s material testing department, carrying out daily tests on soil and concrete, before moving onto the roadworks team as a site engineer, working closely with different sub-contractors in the delivery of drainage installation, in situ culvert headwalls and foundation piling.

Ana said: “My placement year has been very beneficial to my development as a professional engineer. With excellent support from Skanska, I now have a better appreciation of logistics, processes and the importance of planning…and it confirmed my passion for working in this industry.”

Paul Santer, CECA South West Regional Director, said that the success of Ana and the other winners highlighted the opportunities opening up for young people in civil engineering.

Said Paul: “Skills shortages are one of the biggest challenges facing our industry, so we are working hard to encourage young people, particularly women, from diverse backgrounds to consider careers in civil engineering.

“Ana has made a fantastic start to her working life and I hope she will inspire others of her generation to find out more about the wide range of professional and vocational careers offered by our industry. Many of our previous winners are now working on some of the most important infrastructure projects in the UK, which is a reflection of their skills and commitment and the extensive employer support provided for training and development.”

The CECA South West Training Awards are presented annually to trainee civil engineers, apprentices and lifetime achievers in recognition of exceptional performance and dedication. In recognition of her success, Ana received a trophy and cheque for £500 at the CECA South West awards ceremony at The Grand Hotel, Torquay.