A TEENAGER has won a social mobility award after showcasing his talents as an undergraduate – picking up the award at the House of Lords.

Daniel Malikzade Afshar, from Grays, has been awarded a prestigious social mobility award, which showcases the work of undergraduates from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

The 19-year-old was shortlisted for the Upreach10, held at the House of Lords where judges decided the ten winners on the basis of their resilience, determination or initiative, how they apply themselves in University leadership roles and internships.

These awards are designed to help winners achieve and access the very best graduate jobs.

Daniel is the first in his family to continue in education past the age of 15 and now studies theoretical physics at the University of St Andrews.

He said: “I struggled in primary school.

“In fact I was on the brink of getting expelled in year 11.

“It was really difficult trying to juggle exams and threats of expulsion.”

He has now earned a summer internship at Deutsche Bank and plans to work more in the financial sector.

He turned his life around because of his dad, recalling his father telling him “a flower can only grow with food, water and without weeds around it”.

His mother and father both come from war a war-torn country, and arrived in England not having the same opportunities. But Daniel said his father always told him to “aspire for education.”

Daniel explains he got an email for his nomination and an invite to the House of Lords; explaining that it was a “surreal and humbling experience, especially when you know people back home are in the same situation as you.”

For the future, Daniel says: “I am teaching myself Russian and plan to get a PhD after my degree in physics”. With the help of Upreach he added how he is “genuinely planning to become an astronaut”.