Apprenticeships in maternity services are available in England for Maternity Support Workers. Midwifery Degree Apprenticeships also provide another route into becoming a midwife.
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 care
- Learn more about Maternity Support Workers
- Read our blog from June Mensah and Richard Griffin on the north-west London MSW Apprenticeship project
- Read more about MSW careers
- Read about MSW apprenticeships
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, outlined on page 6.
The RCM have long championed the need 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
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 (skillsforhealth.org.uk) 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 seven approved Midwifery Degree apprenticeship programmes at the following universities in England, although not all programmes have apprentices:
- University of Bedfordshire (shortened programme) – this programme is currently not running
- Buckingham New University – this programme is currently not running
- University of Greenwich – this programme is integrated with the OfS programme and runs in January each year. There are currently 35 apprentices on programme.
- Huddersfield University – this programme is currently not running [just checking this as Jane hasn’t got back to me]
- University of West of England – this programme is currently not running
- University of West London – this programme is integrated with the OfS programme and runs in September and April each year. There are currently 13 apprentices on programme.
- Wolverhampton University - this programme is integrated with the OfS programme and runs in September each year. There are currently 4 apprentices on programme
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.
- Read more about Apprentices in Healthcare from Skills for Health
How have apprenticeships changed?
From 1st 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 (www.gov.uk)
There is lots of information for employers and for apprentices on the government website:
- Employing an apprentice: Overview - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Become an apprentice: How apprenticeships work - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
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