A CITY COUNCIL employee has been awarded Young Professional of the Year for her highways and transport work.

The award was made to Rachael Oliver (26) by the North East and Cumbria Chartered Institute of Highways and Transport.

Rachael is a former Southmoor Community School and Sunderland College student who joined the council as an apprentice in 2007. She works as a Highways Technician helping design and implement transport works.

Since joining the council she has achieved three National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), a BTEC National Diploma in Civil Engineering and the Built Environment, and is continuing her professional development as a management trainee.

Councillor Michael Mordey, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for City Services, said: “Congratulations and well done to Rachael. The council and its staff work very hard and in very challenging circumstances to keep our city’s highways network updated, maintained and improved.

“Since joining the council, Rachael has gained a wealth of professional experience and strong vocational qualifications that have built up her knowledge and skills in civil engineering and highways duties.”

Rachael’s nomination was made by her colleagues in the council’s Infrastructure and Transportation services.

Her section manager, Ken Heads said: “It’s such an impressive achievement to be recognised at a regional level and it’s a testament to her talent and hard work that she has had this recognition. Rachael’s many professional skills continue to grow and she is a fantastic ambassador for the council and the city.”

Rachael has recently been working on the design for the upgrading of Durham Road/Grindon junction. The programme of works here includes refurbishing its traffic signals to relieve peak time congestion, improve its efficiency and provide safer facilities for vulnerable users.

She said: “I enjoy working with the team here at Jack Crawford House and the award is as much an honour for everyone who has helped and supported me in and outside of the council as it is for me. I’m proud of Sunderland and how we’re all doing our best to keep our city moving forward.”

Rachael received her award in a ceremony at the Assembly Rooms, Newcastle upon Tyne, on Thursday 19 October.