A former teacher has left behind woodwork to become one of the country's leading engineers.

Clare Dimyon, a former design and technology teacher at Blatchington Mill School in Hove, is now shaping the future of aerospace design.

She is being hailed as an inspiration to students and an example of how education can take people to places they never imagined.

Her ideas are at the forefront of cutting-edge aerospace research and she has been short-listed for the young designer of the year award, which will be announced on Friday.

Her research could reduce the environmental damage caused by aeroplanes and cut millions off the cost of a new breed of Super Jumbo aeroplanes, the European Airbus A3XX.

Clare, 35, of Chester Terrace, Brighton, started her working life as a cabinet-maker before training as a teacher and working at Blatchington Mill.

She taught for five years from 1993, but wanted to take her interest in practical design further and fulfill her ambition to study.

She secured a place on an engineering post-graduate course at the University of the West of England, Bristol, and was awarded a Master of Science with distinction.

Her work with the university has been taken on board by the Airbus UK division of BAE Systems.

Clare said she hoped her success would highlight the importance of education.

She said: "That is the brilliant thing about education.

"It can take you places you would never imagine you could go.

"Work hard because education can open up new worlds.

"I didn't have a particular interest in aeroplanes, no more than the average person.

"Now I go round these wonderful aircraft factories and I think 'God, the kids would love this'.

"I see all these things and think 'just imagine what I could teach from this'."