Scores of college students donned a cap and gown as they celebrated the end of their education at Waltham Forest College, last week.
This year, 234 graduated in subjects ranging from art and design, fashion and textiles, computing, teaching and travel and tourism.
Some already have jobs lined up.
Kelvin Benjamin, 27, will go on to work as a Child Protection Officer with Redbridge council after studying for a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Health and Social Care.
Mr Benjamin hopes to inspire others to think about education later in life.
He said: "I left school at 16 and I wasn't mature enough to cope with the rigours of handing in assignments on time.
"I was coasting in life and wasn't going anywhere until I came here.
“Now I plan to continue studying for a Masters in Social Work while I am working and then go on to do a PhD.
Melrose Wright is set to continue at the college after gaing a Btec qualification.
The 19-year-old has wanted to be a midwife since she witnessed her sister Christiana being born at home 14 years ago.
She plans to continue studying for one more year to take her HND, which will give her the opportunity to work in hospitals on clinical placement.
"I took a lot of advice on the best way to becoming a midwife and found that this route, from BTec to HND, is the best one to take for a career in Midwifery," she said.
Married couple Brigitte Arteaga and Daniel Onise have both been studying for an HNC in Travel and Tourism while bringing up their first child, born in January.
Daniel, 22, revealed how he’s had to hold down four part-time jobs as a cleaner to support his family while studying.
"I start work at 4am and finish my last job at 10.30 at night," he said.
"I am not getting any benefits and I need to pay the rent."
They hope they can now go on to get full time jobs in their chosen industry.
At the graduation ceremony held at Waltham Forest Town Hall, the students were presented with their certificates and diplomas by the Mayor, Councillor Terry Wheeler on July 9.