A precocious Burnley student has claimed a top award at Burnley College as well as landing a job in social care despite taking a somewhat unconventional educational route.
Thriving on the college's Turning Points scheme, Lucy Cain (20) won the Head of Division award on the Health and Social Care course, crowing her four years of hard work.
Having never "clicked" with education in her mother's words, Lucy started on the Turning Points scheme midway through Year 10, spending two days a week doing classes in social skills before starting on the full-time Start Care course a year later.
"Turning Points was a massive change," said Lucy, who lives with her mother, Louise Ruddy on Padgate Place. "Actually enjoying school and being in smaller classes, getting to know everyone and making friends: it has had a massively positive impact.
"I did Start Care and went on to Health and Social Care; it really motivated me," Lucy added. "I'd done health and social at school, where it was the only thing that I enjoyed, so I thought I'd carry it on."
Despite not having sat her GCSEs, Lucy blossomed on the Health and Social Care course, throwing herself into a placement at McAuley Mount Care Home on Padiham Road as well as volunteering at the Burnley General Hospital, Ightenhill Nursey, and at the youth clubs on the Methodist circuit.
"She just wasn't enjoying school, she never settled," said Lucy's mother, Louise. "She wasn't bad, she just wasn't clicking with school, but she's worked really hard and has really thrown herself into it at Burnley College."
Having impressed at McAuley Mount sufficiently to be offered a job as one of the bank staff, Lucy will have been working at the care home for a year this September and could not be enjoying her work more.
"I love it," she said. "It doesn't feel like work - the residents feel like friends once you've been there and got to know them all."
Keen to pursue her interests in social care, Lucy will be starting a foundation year in Community and Social Care Policy and Practice at the UCLan branch at Burnley College in September with a view of working as a midwife.
"I want to work with mums and babies who are affected by drug and alcohol issues," Lucy explained.
But no matter what she goes on to do in the future, Lucy will always remember that moment when she collected her award. "My teachers were all crying: I was crying, my mum was crying," she said. "It was nice to be noticed for my work."