CALLUM Davidson was an angry young man, often getting into fights and being excluded from school.
Brought up in difficult circumstances, he was disruptive at school.
He got into numerous fights and was "very nasty" to his teachers.
Callum's life seemed to be going nowhere, with no likelihood of him going into further education.
But he started taking a long hard look at himself thanks to the words of an engineering teacher who warned him if he didn't change he would end up unemployed and without a future.
Callum, from Darlington, resolved to turn his life around.
He transformed his approach to his studies and in spite of his previous poor academic performance he gained good GCSE grades.
He received a school award for "Most Improved Student".
His grades were good enough for him to be accepted on the full-time BTEC National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering at Darlington College.
Callum also joined the Army Cadets and rose to the rank of Lance Corporal.
His transformation has been so remarkable that he has won the academic achievement award, sponsored by the Learning and Skills Council.
He told the Gazette: "I am quite shocked to be honest. I never thought I would do this well.
"A few years ago I was in the bottom set for most things.
"At school I just got in with the wrong crowd.
"I just didn't know what I wanted to do.
"I had problems, I was quite disruptive. I was quite angry.
"I was getting excluded loads of times. …