INVENTOR and entrepreneur Ruth Amos has motivated and inspired students at Havering College of to reach great heights in their future careers.
The 24-year-old, who created The StairSteady aid to help people with mobility problems use stairs safely, was the guest of honour at a prestigious awards ceremony for high achievers at the college.
Ruth – who is listed on Management Today's 35 women under 35 – was just 16 when she designed the device as part of her GCSE resistant materials project.
She won the prestigious Young Engineer for Great Britain award and is now managing director of a growing company with sales across the UK, to the NHS and with plans for global expansion.
The Sheffield entrepreneur addressed more than 100 award-winning students plus their families and friends at the Havering College Further Education Awards ceremony held at the Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch, Greater London, on Monday.
Ruth told students: "You should be really proud that you have managed to get where you are today. Life is really tough and it gets even harder when you go out into the big wide world. We are competing internationally. I am a firm believer that you get out what you put in."
Havering College Principal Maria Thompson said: "Our Further Education Awards are an opportunity for us as a college to recognise students who have made an outstanding effort and commitment to their academic achievement. The successes and achievements we are celebrating mark only the beginning of exciting journeys for our students.
The top award for Student of the Year 2014 went to Kieran Poynter.
Dagenham resident Kieran, who completed a BTEC level 3 Extended Diploma in Music Technology, was hailed as a "diligent and hard-working student". The 18-year-old is a valuable member of the technical and live sound teams responsible for college shows and performances.
Kieran received £50 from the employability consultancy Our Talented Future plus the offer of a professional mentor.
He said: "I feel overwhelmed to have received the best award of the evening. I have loved my time at Havering College. The teachers are brilliant. They push you to do your best."
Additional Star Awards were presented to four students whose commitment and dedication to reaching their goals really stands out. They are:
Rebecca Welch, 18, from Hornchurch, from the Extended Diploma in Art and Design course, winner of the Outstanding Progress Award.
Lewis Harvey, 17, from Hornchurch, who has completed a BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Graphic Design, gained the Award for Academic Excellence.
Adam Pamplin, 18, from Romford, who has a Level 2 Diploma in Professional Cookery, won the Outstanding Achievement Award.
Harry Squires, 19, from Romford, who completed a Peter Jones Diploma in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, was named Business Student of the Year.
Each Star Award winner received £50 generously sponsored by Acumen Design and RockTwist.
Brentwood Chamber of Commerce presented the Award for Enterprise to Peter Jones Enterprise Academy students Diana Johns, 20, from East Ham and Sharné Mahoney, 18, of Canning Town. The classmates organised the Chamber's annual summer BBQ - one of the biggest events in the Essex business calendar.
Other notable awardees were: Ambassador of the Year for Construction - Jaye Beardsell, 18, from Rainham; Ambassador of the Year for Engineering - Nahid Ahmed,20, from Ilford; Work Based Learning Student of the Year for Construction - Joe Sayers, 19, from Upminster; Work Based Learning Student of the Year for Motor Vehicle - Joe Marshall 20, from Dagenham; Engineering Student of the Year - Chris Adaka, 19, from Rainham; Apprentice of the Year for Electrical Installation - Patrick O'Sullivan, 21, of Romford; Apprentice of the Year for Vehicle Body Repair - Mason Dorman, 21, from Rainham; Apprentice of the year for Plumbing - Harrison Owen, 20, from Westcliff-On-Sea; Return to Learning Award - Tina Case, 30, from Romford and Teaching Support Learner of the Year - Karen Spence, 43 from Romford.
Earlier in the day Ruth Amos visited the college's Quarles Campus in Harold Hill where she spoke to the college's engineering students.
The entrepreneur - who is also MD for music artist development academy Eliot Kennedy Steelworks Academy (EKSA) and the toy and education company DROLS - dropped in on the Enterprise Hub, through which the college develops students' employability skills and encourages their business start-ups.