At the age of 16, Dominic White left school with two 0-levels, determined not to return to education.

More than 16 years later, he has come joint top of his year at the University of Teesside, achieving a first class BSc (Hons) degree in sport science. He has also gained the Human Kinetics Award, given for the best sport science dissertation.

Dominic, 32, of Taunton Vale, Guisborough, is originally from Bishop Auckland, County Durham. After school he embarked on a series of jobs, including working as a hotel porter in the Lake District and as an assistant warden in North-Eastern youth hostels. Both posts gave Dominic the opportunity to take part in climbing.

Since then he has climbed in a range of areas, including the Alps.

At the age of 28, he enrolled for an access course at New College, Bishop Auckland.

Dominic said: "I chose sport science at Teesside because it was interesting and I could build it into a career.