A YOUNG woman who battled back after suffering injuries in an horrific road accident has been named on a shortlist for a top accolade.

Zara Roberts, 24, from Llangollen is in the running for an Inspire Adult Learner award, and will find out if she has won at a ceremony at the Coal Exchange in Cardiff tomorrow

In 2004, Zara suffered a traumatic brain injury, five broken ribs, a punctured lung and fractured pelvis, elbow and ankle in a road accident.

Before that she had been on her way to university to become a teacher, specialising in special needs.

Although faced with enormous difficulties, she has since battled to achieve her NVQ in supporting teaching and learning in Schools Level 2.

The Inspire Adult Learner awards are organised by NIACE Dysgu Cymru to recognise learners whose achievements have been inspirational or life-changing.

The awards will be presented by television’s Claire Summers and comedian and presenter Chris Corcoran

While working on the course in a primary school, Zara’s tutor arranged a visit to a special school.

Following a meeting with the headteacher, she was offered voluntary work for three days a week.

In September 2009, Zara returned to the school on a full-time basis.

“We sometimes speak of rehabilitation as a battle, requiring tenacity and exceptional effort by the patient,” said Zara’s neurologist, Bob Rafal, of the North Wales Brain Injury Service.

“If the analogy is correct, then Zara is a happy warrior and one of my heroes.

“She has the heart of a lion. She has not only overcome handicaps in mobility and speech to regain full independence but she has also steadfastly focused on the goal of preparing herself to help others.”

Zara said: “For the first time I have realised my disabilities are accepted and I will work and lead a normal life a life as possible.

“I would love to be employed as a support worker for special needs children, as to a certain degree I understand their frustrations. I hope to show them that like me, they too can succeed.”

The awards are held as a curtain-raiser to Adult Learners Week, which begins on Saturday, the UK’s celebration of adult learning, co-ordinated by NIACE Dysgu Cymru, and funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and the European Social Fund.