A teenager who was smuggled into the country in the back of a lorry and unable to speak English has received his A level results, and will begin an apprenticeship at a wealth management firm.
Stiven Bregu, 18, arrived in the UK in 2015 after escaping a violent home life. He was dumped alone in Keynsham, near Bristol and soon placed into foster care.
He has now collected his A-level results in maths, biology and chemistry at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School in Bristol and will join Rowan Dartington after winning an accountancy apprenticeship.
While preparing to sit his exams, Stiven was told he was being deported from the UK after his application for asylum was rejected.
Teachers and friends launched a campaign to keep him in Bristol and it was signed by more than 90,000 people. He later learned his appeal had been successful and he can remain in the UK.
“I was not expecting the reaction I received from the people of Bristol,” said Stiven, from Totterdown, Bristol.
“I’m quite grateful and very pleased I can stay here. Bristol is a wonderful place and the community around me have been wonderful.
“Bristol has been so welcoming and is my home. The school and teachers have been wonderful and really supportive.”
Stiven has been part of Bristol mayor Marvin Rees’s City Leadership Programme, which invests in gifted students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Head teacher Elisabeth Gilpin said: “I am delighted that Stiven has succeeded in getting his three A-levels and an apprenticeship.
“He has worked really hard and not let the shocking news of his initial application to remain in the UK being turned down deter him.
“I am so touched that Bristol and people more widely across the UK really got behind Stiven at such a crucial time in his young life.
“It makes me so proud to live in Bristol and be part of the UK as people have been so kind and generous and really positive about a hardworking young man.
“I am grateful to the judge at the appeal hearing who found in his favour and allowed him to stay and to the Home Office for not appealing against this decision.
“I know that Stiven will put back a lot into our country through his kindness as a role model to younger people, through his hard work and through the taxes he will pay.
“He will always be part of the extended school family and network where we are all very fond of him.”