'Israel’s story shows what can be achieved through hard work and determination.' Photo: University of Wolverhampton

A former London bus driver has become a pharmacist after gaining his Master’s degree from the University of Wolverhampton.

Israel Marfo (41) is currently completing his pre-reg training in a Well pharmacy branch in Walsall, West Midlands, after securing his 2:1 MPharms from the university’s School of Pharmacy this year.

Sharonjit Malhi, his pre-reg tutor at Well’s Beechdale Estate pharmacy, said: “Israel is very passionate about his role and is eager to learn all the aspects of becoming a fantastic pharmacist. He loves to challenge himself and develop his knowledge in this field. He is a people person and endeavours to give the best customer service day in day out which he thrives off.”

Marfo came to the UK from Ghana in 2005 with no formal educational qualification. He drove buses in London for years before deciding that he need a change.

He studied full-time for ten years but had to work part-time at night in a warehouse and in security roles to support himself and a new family.

After securing an Applied Science qualification at Level 2, Marfo passed his English and Maths GCSE before studying for a Biomedical Science qualification. He then pursued a three-year Access to Higher Education course which helped him to get into university. A BSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences with foundation year provided a step up to the MPharm degree.

“It’s been a long journey but every step was worth it,” he said, giving details about how he got married and had a child while still being a student.

“Learning during lockdown hasn’t been easy. I’ve had to sit my exams at home surrounded by my family, but I had plenty of support from my wife who has encouraged me and helped me enormously.”

Marfo was dyslexic but the university allowed him additional support with exams and assessments which really helped.

Dr Colin Brown, head of the Wolverhampton School of Pharmacy, said: “Israel’s story shows what can be achieved through hard work and determination and his drive to succeed in his ambitions had really paid off.”

His wife, Ama Dadzie, who provided Marfo will “support” and “encouragement”, is also studying for a Nursing degree at the university whilst working as a housekeeper at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton.

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