A successful Nigerian journalist, Sympho, travelled to the UK with her husband to complete a Masters in Contemporary Media, but her path was altered.

Falling pregnant, she decided to put her career to one side as her husband concentrated on his electronics business. However, seven years later, it was time to make a change.

Those who’ve had a career break know how difficult it can be to get the ball rolling again but imagine doing that in another country! This isn’t uncommon, many skilled professionals come to UK to find that their qualifications aren’t transferable.

 “I couldn’t practice what I studied. I worked as a reporter in Africa with the Nigerian Television Authority. I covered stories and then wrote and edited it for broadcasting and feature pieces.


“I had to stay off work for a very long time. When you’re home a long time, you come of the tracks. When I felt it was time to go back I went to the job centre and they referred me to SWEDA. The first lady I met referred me to the employment advisor and she helped me a lot.”

SWEDA provides community engagement activities and training to help people develop their confidence, learn new skills and move towards employment and self-employment; it’s part of the Foundation’s Community Matters programme.

Working with SWEDA, Sympho, amended her CV, addressed her confidence issues and started job searching. To take her to the next step they offered her a voluntary role at the organisation.

“One of the great things about SWEDA, is that you are given the opportunity to participate in whatever work they are doing which helped me learn faster and speedily boosted my confidence”

Once ready the job searching could really begin once Sympho was mentally and physically ready for it.

It wasn’t before long that Sympho had an offer on the table. Coincidentally SWEDA had a vacancy too!

“I got both! I had to decide so chose SWEDA! I love seeing people being transformed and when a lot of people come here you see them down, you see them depressed, it was thrilling to me, it caught my attention!


“I like chatting to people, I like encouraging people and SWEDA has given me the opportunity to do that.


“It gives me joy to make a difference to the lives of other people.”

Davinder Kaur, Chief Executive of SWEDA, sang Sympho’s praises:

“We’ve an active policy of recruiting people that have come through our programme. For her to come here as a client we saw the potential and it fell into place at the right time.”


“She’s a very open person with good interpersonal skills, she’s very much part of the team and has good initiative. She’s a real success story for her, us and the Community Matters project.”

To find out more about our Community Matters programme click here.

The nationwide, Building Better Opportunities programme, is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund (ESF) who are co-investing in local projects tackling the root causes of worklessness, promoting social inclusion and driving local jobs and growth.

Community Matters is one of four projects within this programme across the Black Country and will help people across Walsall, Wolverhampton, Dudley and Sandwell move into or closer to employment by developing their skills and confidence.

Community Matters is managed by the Heart of England Community Foundation in partnership with local organisations across the Black Country.