A MAN who failed his GCSEs as a schoolboy has overcome dyslexia to earn a first class honours degree from the University of Chester.

Tariq Malik, 28, recently returned from a volunteering trip to Cambodia, where he completed his second stint teaching English to youngsters in a remote village.

Tariq, who now lives in Manchester, says his life’s mission has always been to travel and help people in the world’s poorest communities.

“I was told in school that if I didn’t pass my GCSEs, I wouldn’t get anywhere in life,” he said.

“When I told them my dream was to travel the world and help people in indigenous communities, my headteacher laughed at me. But I’ve done it.

“And from a boy who failed his GCSEs to become an academic student who achieves 80% in my assignments just shows that if you enjoy and persevere in a subject, you can achieve anything.”

Tariq, who is originally from Staffordshire, started his BA Honours degree in marketing and tourism at the University of Chester in 2013.

He said: “The university’s reputation is what brought me to Chester to study. It’s a great city, and the lecturers were so warm and welcoming.

“They have really helped me get through the difficulties of learning with dyslexia, supporting me all the way.”

Dr Andy Lyon, Head of Chester Business School’s Marketing, Tourism and Events Management Department, says Tariq achieved his success ‘through sheer perseverance and hard work’.

He added: “Tariq has had to overcome numerous challenges and has worked extremely hard. He’s a credit to the department, the university – but most of all to himself.

“He has continuously put back into society and spent his summers volunteering on educational development projects in Africa and Asia.”

As well as his first class honours degree, Tariq was awarded one of the University’s top accolades – the Dean’s Commendation Award for Outstanding Performance. He has secured a place on a graduate training scheme with a national restaurant chain and previously worked ‘front-of-house’ at a large hotel in Chester.

Tariq’s plans include finding a job relating to his degree.

“My university course was so relevant to my life and how I see my future – I loved learning about global marketing, which involved analysing different cultures,” Tariq added.

“This knowledge really helps on my travels around the world, enabling me to make a difference in local communities wherever I go.

“I’d like to get involved in destination marketing, promoting all the different countries and cultures of the world.”

Tariq will graduate at a ceremony at Chester Cathedral in November.