With a dream of starting his own franchise, Hamza Ahmed taught himself to be a barber in his grandmother’s kitchen.

Choosing to eschew a formal education, Hamza, from Oldham, proves that hard work, perseverance and dedication is the key to success.

Now a qualified barber, Hamza said at first he was just cutting hair as a hobby.

Hamza said,“I initially started cutting my own hair just to save money. My friends liked my styles and wanted me to cut their hair too.

“At that stage I wasn’t trained. I taught myself by observing other barbers.

“I would spend so much time watching their techniques and asking them questions.

“I began cutting hair in my grandmother’s kitchen. My family didn’t mind as I always cleaned up afterwards!

“Essentially I was experimenting on my friends, but they always left happy.

“It wasn’t easy starting off as there are so many head shapes and face cuts to get used to.”

Hamza revealed his academic journey has not been a conventional one, but with determination and a clear sense of direction, he followed a path towards a career he felt passionate about.

“I left school with only three GCSEs. I didn’t know what I wanted to do in my life. 

“I go into Gas Engineering at college, but I didn’t enjoy it. That’s when I decided to enrol in a different college.

“I purposely chose a college that was an hour away. I needed to be in a place where I had no distractions. A change of environment was essential for me to be able to dedicate myself to college wholeheartedly. 

“I did a Barbers Level 2 course. So now I am a qualified barber.”

With his parents support, Hamza said he felt confident with his chosen path in life.

“My dad said to me, ‘There’s always money to be made. Go out there, find your niche and make something of yourself.’”

He uses his Instagram page @fadesbyhamza to share his work.

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Hamza is the youngest member of staff at R3Fresh Barbershop in Oldham. 

He said their busiest time of year was Eid when customers queued for up to five hours to get their hair cut.
“When you trust your barber, you don’t want to go anywhere else to get your hair cut.

“Eid queues are phenomenal, but the atmosphere is so vibrant. Everyone knows each other and there is such a buzz in the shop.

“We have stayed open until 5am on occasion to make sure our clients are served.”

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With a future plan to start his own franchise, Hamza admits his decision to focus on a career turned his life around. 

“I strayed during my teens and fell into a bad crowd. This affected my behaviour adversely and had a negative influence on my family too."

“I have put my teens behind me and have matured a lot over the last two years."

“I am 19 now and married. You need a sense of accomplishment in your life to feel like you have a purpose. 

“I would advise young people to think about what is their forte. It may not necessarily be academic. 

“We all have that inner drive. But it’s up to you to listen to it.

“Once you find what you are good at, apply yourself and don’t let anything deter you from achieving your dreams and making a success of yourself. 

“I know it is unorthodox to leave school with only 3 GCSEs, but I turned that low point into a positive by constructing a fulfilling career for myself.”