A STUDENT who has been working as an MP's intern since passing his A levels with flying colours a year early has got the vote of recruiters at one of the country's most famous universities.
Luke Pike, who has only just turned 18, has been offered a place at Cambridge University where he will join Downing College to read history and politics.
Luke, who attended Trinity Academy, in Thorne, achieved A* grades in English literature, history, government and politics, and the EPQ (Extended Project Qualification), as well as an A in German last summer, before taking a gap year.
Since September he has been working for Andrea Jenkyns, MP for Morley and Outwood, who unseated Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls in the 2015 General Election, and has spent his weekends up to Christmas on his university application and admissions test and interview preparation.
Luke travels by train for two hours each morning from his home in Thorne to reach the MP's constituency office in Morley, and completes the same journey at 6pm each evening, time which he used to write his personal statement for university.
He said: "No two days are the same because no two individuals are the same. As a public office, our work revolves around the constituents we serve and support. It's rewarding and eye opening work.
"I work at the constituency office but I did interview for my job in London and do visit the Palace of Westminster through work. It's an incredible city with a rich history. This is nowhere more apparent than inside the Palace.
"Andrea is a great boss and I am incredibly grateful to her for the opportunity and wealth of experience she has given me. It's certainly given me a deeper understanding of what it is - what it takes - to work in politics but it really is too soon to say whether I will be working in politics in the future."
After he completes his internship in May, Luke is jetting off the United States to work as a summer camp counsellor and soccer coach for two months in Maine, after which he plans to travel coast-to-coast, visiting major cities and national parks.
Once he returns to the UK, he will make his final plans for Cambridge.
He said: "I was ecstatic to get the place, I still am. This has been a long-term project and I'm grateful to my teachers, friends and family for their support and encouragement. Trinity Academy is truly a great school where, with the right work ethic and the right attitude, you can achieve your personal goals. In school, as in all of life, it's incumbent on you to seize the opportunities you are given.
"I'm excited about the future. I'm looking forward to the whole, comprehensive, Cambridge package: everything from my course content to university sport.
"I have always wanted to go to the right place for me. Getting to Cambridge has been a process, but I'm glad I persevered."
And he has some useful advice for other young people who might aspire to going to Cambridge.
"I'd say go for it! There’s certainly no harm whatsoever in trying. For students who aren't sure if it's the right place for them, I'd recommend checking out the Sutton Trust, who put on free summer schools. It's a great experience by all accounts.
"For anyone who does apply, my main advice would be to make sure it's for the right course. The course you choose should be one you have extracurricular interest in and would feel comfortable discussing on an intellectual level with academics."
As for his long term ambitions, Luke, who was also renowned for his sporting prowess at Trinity Academy, added: "Too much about my life is about to change for me to say for sure. I will keep an open mind and continue to work hard while maintaining a balanced lifestyle."
David Page, principal at Trinity Academy, said: "Luke embodies everything we hope to see and instil in our young people: determination, courage and hard work as well as humility and integrity.
"He has demonstrated great character in his commitment to his work and his exams before that, and whilst he clearly has great academic talent he has done it all with enthusiasm and passion. We know he is destined to be a huge success at whatever he goes on to do in the future, and we all look forward to him returning and sharing his experiences with us."