Kieran driving ahead with his trucking career as friends post A-level results on social media
While his peers were receiving their A-level results yesterday, a teenager from Londonderry was happily driving his lorry.
Kieran McCauley turned 19 on July 10, and by that stage was already behind the wheel of his DAF truck, hauling fuel in its 40ft tanker trailer.
Ever since he was in nappies, Kieran has spent time travelling in trucks with his dad, Paul, who is also a lorry driver.
The teenager was eager to get started in the industry, so he could not wait until he turned 18 to be able to take the HGV licence tests - first for rigid lorries and then the larger articulated units.
Kieran enjoyed school and reached lower sixth at St Columb's College in Derry, achieving promising grades in his mock exams.
However, despite his success, he knew a life on the road was what he really wanted, so he left school to follow in his father's footsteps by learning to drive lorries.
"It's not that I didn't enjoy school, its just that I preferred to be driving a lorry," Kieran said.
"On Thursday, while all my friends were posting about their A-level results on social media, I was out driving the lorry and tanker without a care in the world.
"It's something that I really wanted to do, and I have absolutely no regrets about leaving school to go trucking.
"However, I am not suggesting that the decision I made would be right for everyone.
"Driving a lorry is what I always wanted to do, and when I became the legal age to take the test I jumped at the chance."
Kieran took the rigid lorry driving test first, as per protocol, then sat the articulated truck driving test as soon as he could after that.
"I had to wait for the first licence to come through before I could apply for the second for the bigger lorries," he said.
"I was impatient, but it came through and I passed the second test without a problem."
As luck would have it, a haulage company just across the border near Newtown Cunningham, Deerpark Haulage Donegal Ltd, had heard of his success and was willing to give him a go.
The business hauls fuel, so Kieran also had to pass his ADR test, which is a specialist exam for people driving vehicles carrying dangerous or hazardous goods by road.
He started off driving smaller rigid tanker lorries for Deerpark, before later progressing to larger vehicles.
Kieran's typical working week sees him delivering fuel around filling stations in Dublin and then bringing a load of biofuel back with him. During each trip he spends one night away from home in the sleeper cab of his truck and makes the return journey north the following day.
"I really have to thank Joe Dolan, the owner of Deerpark Haulage, for taking me on and giving me the chance to drive," said Kieran.
"Insurance can be a real challenge for young drivers, but I am very appreciative that he had faith in me and my driving."
The young entrepreneur is not only a truck driver, but has also set up his own small business in auto electrics, working with cars, vans and lorries. While he may be 19, he looks a lot younger and often gets mistaken for being "too young to drive a big lorry".
"Its an occupational hazard of sorts," Kieran explained. "I do look a lot younger and am smaller than some truckers.
"When I am making some deliveries at depots I can see and hear the looks and comments about me being behind the wheel.
"It's quite funny to see their faces when I jump in the cab and drive off."