"Coming from Nigeria, where families and neighbours take sole responsibility for supporting people with learning disabilities, I started working in adult learning disability services with little prior experience and few preconceptions. This allowed me to see things with an open mind and identify gaps in the provision. One of these was the challenges faced by social care workers when addressing the sexual needs of the people they support. This gave me the idea and motivation for my PhD, with the intention that my research could contribute to the delivery of person-centred support, services and staff understanding around sexuality strategies and/or support plans.
"The biggest challenge came from being a second-language learner with a non-Welsh accent. It made an already difficult task of interviewing social care workers about sexuality even more demanding. However, my supervisory team supported me all the way and were full of advice and understanding. In fact, my learning and development were managed so well that I often overcame challenges without realising it!
"I am proud of my what I have achieved – especially alongside bringing up a family! I arrived in the UK from Nigeria in 2004 and despite having a degree and masters from my home country, I couldn’t get a job with these qualifications so had to begin again, learning the language, undertaking study and finding my place. I’ve since completed a postgraduate certificate in health and social care professional education, a Health and Social Care degree and now a PhD – all at USW.
"My research has been widely disseminated at both local and international conferences and I am in the process of publishing my first paper from the study. I’ve also been approached by PhD students in Bristol and Dublin, who are working in a similar area, with a view to sharing our findings.
"The highlights of my PhD journey are undoubtedly being part of the USW team that helped develop a new health communication tool and part of another team that developed the new learning disability educational framework for healthcare staff in Wales.
"I feel fulfilled and relieved to achieve my PhD after such a long, interesting and challenging journey. And while it feels somewhat bittersweet to gain it at this time of COVID-19, I know that research will be ever more important for people with learning disabilities and their families who continue to be affected by the pandemic."