When Stacey Louise Mason left Garstang High School the idea of donning a cap and gown was never in her thoughts.
She considered going to college, briefly, then decided further education wasn’t for her and instead set up her own market stall - aged 16, selling hair accessories and jewellery.
Her family moved to Wigan so she made a name for herself in the outdoor market for a couple of years until she was old enough to hold a lease on the indoor market.
It was while balancing the books and keeping check on how much money she was making that Stacey decided it was time to go to college.
Stacey, 25, who lives in Euxton, near Chorley, said: “Business was doing okay but I realised that the balancing the books etc was the side I really enjoyed so I looked into what I had to do to become ab it better.
“I went to Wigan and Leigh College first to do a BTec in business and a diploma in finance.”
After these studies she had a year out as she had become mum to Xander, now four,
However, after stating a BA Honours degree in finance at UCLan single mum Stacey discovered she was pregnant again with daughter Tia ( now two).
Juggling a toddler and new baby isn’t easy at any time but Stacey never felt like quitting and wasn’t even prepared to take more than the bare minimum of time after having the baby.
She said: “It was hard but I have got great family support. Mum and Dad were a great help.
“The teachers were really great and understanding. I only missed a few classes, because she was due in March after February I didn’t go in at all.
“They said I could have deferred if I had wanted but didn’t really want to.
“I had her in March and went to do my exams in May.
“I was lucky because she was good and slept a lot, plus my family were really supportive.
“ They had Xander for me and every night before an exam my mum had Xander.”
During her second and third years she got an accounting job one day a week and carried on during her final year.
Tutors were so impressed with her results they recommended her to one of the largest firms of chartered accountants in the area.
Stacey has now landed a trainee audit job with RSM in Preston, which is the sixth biggest audit form in the world, covering the whole of the region.
She said: “ Looking back I don’t know how I managed it but I am really, really proud of what I have achieved considering where I started - not many people have achieved that.
“I couldn’t have done it without my mum and dad.
“It’s not easy but you have to be willing to put the work in.
“I think that because I had been out into the world it helped me focus and gave me an idea of what they wanted.”in the workplace especially.”