The first in his family to go to university, former car mechanic Gareth Taylor has triumphed against the odds.
A dyslexic who left school with few qualifications, he has now graduated with a 2.1 Computer Science degree.
He even gained a remarkable 100% for his degree dissertation in which he invented a device to tune classic car engines.
Lancaster University was also where he met his fiancée, Natisha Atherton, a 4th year medical student whom he plans to marry next summer.
He said: “Lancaster has been the best decision of my life. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that life would turn out so well- everything has just fallen into place.”
Gareth has now been offered a fully funded PhD at Lancaster University’s SecurityLancaster, an EPSRC-GCHQ Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research, where his skills will be in demand as a computer expert.
This is a far cry from his previous job with RBS where he examined cars for insurance claims.
He never thought of going to university following A levels, instead leaving school at 18 and working in a bar before joining RBS.
He spent 6 years with the company, while also working weekends restoring classic cars at a garage where he did everything from panel beating to paint spraying.
When he was made redundant from RBS, he worked full time at the garage while taking an Access to University course at his local FE college.
“I applied to Lancaster because I wanted a top ten university and I fell in love with the campus.”
He plans to train to be a teacher at Cumbria University where he has a place on the PGCE course, before taking up his place at Lancaster University for his PhD.
“Graduation doesn’t mean I’m leaving because I’ll be back at Lancaster University next year.”