Since he was a little boy growing up on a Fermanagh farm, Martin McQuaid dreamed of becoming a vet.
However, despite achieving four A grades at A-Level and nine A grades at GCSE, the 19-year-old has been rejected by a number of UK universities for a second time.
The young Irvinestown man first applied in 2010 to study veterinary medicine at universities in Bristol, Edinburgh, Nottingham and Liverpool and was denied an interview by all but the latter.
Last year, he applied again for a place on courses beginning in 2012 but found out in April he had once again been rejected.
Yesterday morning, Martin decided to give the universities a call “on the off-chance and in case someone had not met the conditions laid out in their offer” only to find all the places on his chosen course had been filled.
Martin admitted he has become “disheartened” and feels “failed by the education system”.
“I actually don’t know what else I can do, I have jumped through every hoop. I have the grades the universities want and more work experience than they are asking for. I’ve worked in various vets as well as abattoirs and veterinary laboratories,” he said.
In addition to exceptional grades and work experience, the former St Michael’s College pupil also has a wealth of extracurricular activities under his belt such as volunteering for his local youth club, fundraising for charity and carrying the Olympic torch through his hometown.
“I am desperate for a career in veterinary medicine, it is all I have ever wanted to do,” he said.