Grade A student Cecily Nowell-Smith has thought intelligently about how to avoid getting into debt when she heads off to university.

Oxford hopeful Cecily is planning to support herself by working as a plumber when she doesnt have her head buried in text books.

She is currently doing a two year Plumbing NVQ at The College of North East London and says her choice of subject initially raised a few eyebrows. So much so, that Radio 4s Sue McGregor picked up on the story. It was then picked up by The Daily Mail, who made a trip to the Tottenham college to interview her.

Cecily, 19, from Tufnell Park, graduated from independent girls school South Hampstead High with four A Levels all at Grade A.

Sue McGregor was handing out the prizes at the schools awards ceremony and wrote about Cecily in her diary column in The New Statesmen. It was then picked up by The Daily Mail, who made a trip to the Tottenham college to interview her.

Cecily says she cant really understand what all the fuss is about. I just wanted to do something practical. I thought plumbing looked fun, and I was right! I love the course Im doing. Its so cool!

CONEL has a really good reputation for this subject and there are another three girls on my course. We have a lot of fun.

Its also a trade, something solid that I will always have. A lot of my friends from school went off travelling during their gap years but I thought that was a bit of a waste of time.

Though she does plan to work as a plumber once qualified, Cecilys ultimate ambition is to study Japanese at Oxford. With the government putting up University fees, as least Ill be able to pay my own way. I really dont want to get into huge debt.

Theres a shortage of plumbers everywhere at the moment. Im sure they could use me in Oxford!


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