Agnes Wadzie Claire Maarufu

This success story is one in a million.

7 years ago, Agnes Maarufu, who originates from Zimbabwe, walked through the doors of Philips Hair Academy. Although she could already do African Caribbean hair; now she had moved to England, she also wanted to learn how to do European hair.

Just 5 years ago, Agnes qualified in this country as a British hairdresser.  She spoke a little about her experience with Philips Hair Academy and said, “I was afraid to come to begin with, because I knew that I would be older than the other learners, most likely I would be a different race to the others in the group and I had an accent that not many people understood very clearly”. However, when I walked through that door, the respect and discipline stood out to me; there was no difference between me and the others; I was treated exactly the same as everyone else. I was a single mum at the time, but this didn’t allow for any privileges on my behalf, I was still made to come on time regardless of my situation. I soon realized that this was for my own benefit; it was so powerful, and it helped me organize my life, not just learn hairdressing; it was just the discipline I needed to move forward in my career” …………… and undisputedly, Agnes has certainly done that.

This success story is one in a million; every step of the way is down to Agnes’s drive and determination to succeed. She told us that as a child, she would walk 5 miles to school each day barefoot, so the education she received from us was welcomed with open arms and embraced with vigour.

The things that Agnes has achieved in the few short years since completing her hairdressing course with Philips Hair Academy are astonishing; not because she is a genius, but because she has a staggering drive, ambition and focus on where she is going and how to get there.

Agnes started off renting a small salon in Leeds market, then moved premises to offer a better variety of services. Her confidence was growing, and she was hungry to learn more; so, she made a major decision to study trichology; something she has always wanted to do, she says is to help people to feel good about themselves and this is the ultimate.

So, her journey began………….

The sacrifices she made included selling her car, downsizing her home to pay for the course and travelling on the bus throughout the night to get to her work placements on time. Her journey was well and truly tested; she says “there is always something to test and to try you, but you just have to prioritize and stay focused ….. focus, focus, focus ….” The professor who was teaching her said there was no-one in the UK ready for this exam, but this just made her more determined “I became like a human computer; I blocked everything around me and only slept for 4 hours a night while studying. I didn’t watch TV for 2 years and I used to ask my clients to test my knowledge by giving them test cards to question me about the different conditions”. But the long arduous journey was all worthwhile, as not only is she the first person this year to qualify; she is the very first African person ever, to achieve the highly sought-after qualification.

Now she has started a new journey and feels the sky is her limit as she says she even shocks and surprises herself at times. She has now opened the first trichology practice in the Yorkshire region that are registered and certified with the Trichological Society, located on The Grand Arcade, Leeds. She is in talks with Nuffield Healthcare to discuss arrangements to work with them and she has links in South Africa awaiting the results of a tender to open a college to help educate African people in trichology. As Agnes started as an adult learner herself in this country, she is very keen to keep this going and help adults to train and re-train to support achievement of their goals

Her message for all our hairdressing students is “Go for it! Don’t complain; appreciate it and appreciate the people who are trying to help you”. She says they must “focus, focus, focus and close their minds to other distractions until they get what they want”.