Apprenticeships in maternity services are available in England for maternity support workers (MSWs). Midwifery Degree Apprenticeships also provide another route into becoming a midwife.

Hear from the first cohort of MSWs who have completed their apprenticeship into midwifery: 


Hear from the educators and midwives who supported the first cohort of apprentices. 

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a work-based training programme. It combines on-the-job training with a national recognised qualification. Tuition fees are paid by the employer or government funding and apprentices are paid a salary for their employment. Apprenticeship policy in the UK has encouraged a significant growth in apprenticeships in healthcare.

Apprenticeships and maternity support workers

Apprenticeships are one training route to becoming a Maternity Support Worker (MSW) and the RCM contributed to the development of the new MSW Apprenticeship Standard – part of the Senior Healthcare Support Worker Apprenticeship standard, Senior healthcare support worker / Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

The RCM has long championed the needs of maternity support staff to have access to appropriate learning and development opportunities. We therefore welcome quality apprenticeships, which are rightly becoming a feature of the NHS workforce.

We have produced an RCM Apprenticeship Guide with the following aims:

  • To provide RCM members with clear, up-to-date and accessible information, advice and guidance about Apprenticeships in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
  • To explain why maternity services should consider introducing Apprenticeships to help develop their workforce
  • To provide practical advice on how to implement and support Apprenticeship programmes
  • To set out the issues associated with implementing Apprenticeship programmes

2019.01.24-RCM-Apprenticeship-Guide-2018.pdf (

Apprenticeships and midwifery

In July 2018, midwifery leaders in NHS Trusts and in higher education in England came together to form a trailblazer group to draft the first Midwife Degree Apprenticeship Standard, which was approved in December 2018. In 2020, the standard was updated to meet the new NMC (2019) Future Midwife standards Midwife (2019 NMC standards) (Integrated degree) / Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education All programmes approving a Midwife Apprenticeship route need to use the 2020 (Integrated Degree) Standard.

In 2021, Skills for Health published an article about developing both Midwife Standards, including interviews with the trailblazer chairs. 2021.01.28 Meet the Chairs - Midwife Trailblazer v2 ( The RCM was a stakeholder to both Trailblazer groups and helped shape how the Standard aims to grow our midwifery workforce.

The midwifery apprenticeship is a degree-level apprenticeship, meaning that as well as completing the apprenticeship training, a candidate will also have to satisfy the requirements of the university to get their degree before they can register with the NMC and begin to practise as a registered midwife. Employers and universities have designed their programmes so that apprentices can fulfil both these obligations at the same time.

There are currently 12 approved Midwifery Degree apprenticeship programmes at the following universities in England, although not all programmes have apprentices:

  • University of Bedfordshire (3 year and shortened programme) – these programmes run in September each year. The 3 year programme is integrated with the fee paying programme.
  • University of Birmingham (shortened programme).
  • Buckingham New University (3 year programme).
  • University of Central Lancashire (3 year programme).
  • University of Cumbria (3 year programme) - this programme is integrated with the fee paying programme and runs in September each year.
  • University of East London (3 year programme).
  • University of Greenwich (3 year programme) -  this programme is integrated with the fee paying programme and runs in September and January each year.
  • Huddersfield University (3 year programme). 
  • University of West of England (3 year programme).
  • University of West London (3 year programme) - this programme is integrated with the fee paying programme and runs in September and April each year.
  • University of Winchester (3 year programme).
  • Wolverhampton University (3 year programme) - this programme is integrated with the fee paying programme and runs in September each year.

Apprenticeships and the NHS

Apprenticeships can be a great way for NHS leaders to grow their own workforce, as well as for individuals wanting a rewarding NHS career than can take them where they want to go. They are more varied and lead to more careers than might be expected. Not only can maternity support workers train through an apprenticeships route, apprenticeships can give midwives and other NHS professionals new skills in project management and leadership. New Apprenticeship Standards are being created every month.

How have apprenticeships changed?

From 1 April 2022, the government no longer requires public sector organisations larger than 250 employees to meet an apprenticeship target. However, the government is very encouraging of apprentices and still requires public sector organisations to report apprenticeship numbers Public sector apprenticeship target - GOV.UK (

There is lots of information for employers and for apprentices on the government website:

You can also find specific country information using the following links:

Apprenticeships and support from the TUC

The TUC’s Unionlearn helps trade unions to support apprentices in the workplace. The RCM is a proud member of the TUC and we have resources to support union reps, LRs and other union members to work directly with apprentices, supporting them to complete their apprenticeship and build their careers.

For more information and resources, visit Apprenticeships | Unionlearn.