'It helped with my confidence, now I love my equine course'
Shannon Connor (17) Educational Achiever of Year
Today Shannon Connor from Newcastle is following her dream of working with horses, taking part in a Level 2 Equine Studies course in Enniskillen.
But her success followed difficult teenage years where an unsettled home life left her with serious confidence issues that all but derailed her school work.
A crippling fear of failure caused her to act out and become disruptive in school with much of her free time spent mixing with the wrong crowd.
Eventually Shannon was referred to the Prince's Trust's xl programme, an informal learning course with a mixture of study and group activities.
"The xl programme improved my confidence with everything and it ended up with my teacher putting me in for the award," she said.
"It means everything to me, it shows how much hard work does for everyone. Now I'm doing equestrian studies up in Enniskillen and I love it so much."