RCM welcomes UK’s first midwifery apprentices

By RCM welcomes UK’s first midwifery apprentices on 20 January 2020 Midwives MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Apprenticeships Education

The Royal College of Midwives has welcomed the UK’s first midwifery degree apprentices who start their training today at Greenwich University.

Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “This really is a landmark in UK midwifery and a cultural shift for midwifery training, offering a different route into the profession. At the start of this International Year of the Midwife, we called on governments to support the training and education of the maternity workforce, so it’s fitting that the first midwife apprentices are starting today.”

Students completing their apprenticeships will gain a midwifery degree and will be fully qualified midwives. The development of the midwifery apprenticeships has been led by Skills for Health and Health Education England supported by the RCM. 

A further two midwifery apprenticeship courses will start at the University of West London and University of Bedford in spring this year. The apprenticeships are open to those already employed as Maternity Support Workers or as an adult nurse.

Gill Walton added: “This widens out access and is a really positive addition to routes into midwifery. Although the number of midwives is England is increasing slowly we are still around 2500 midwives short of the numbers needed.  We need this kind of innovation around ways into midwifery if we are to see that shortage continue to fall. I wish those starting their courses today the best of luck with their new career.”


Heather Bower, Lead Midwife for Education at the University of Greenwich, said: "The introduction of this exciting new programme will offer an alternative route to obtaining an undergraduate degree in midwifery for people already working for an NHS trust. The content of the course will be the same as the three-year midwifery BSc degree, only the delivery will be different.


She added, We are proud to be leading the way by developing and piloting these trailblazing apprenticeships, with trusts across the country interested in participating in the future to increase the number of trained midwives in England."




To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected].  


Notes to editors

More information on apprenticeships can be found on the RCM website at

https://www.rcm.org.uk/promoting/learning-careers/apprenticeships/. The  RCM’s Apprenticeships Guide can be viewed at https://www.rcm.org.uk/media/2077/rcm-apprenticeship-guide.pdf


More information on midwifery apprenticeships can also be viewed on the Skills for Health website at https://haso.skillsforhealth.org.uk/news/midwife-degree-apprenticeship-announcement/.


More information on the WHO International year of the Midwife can be viewed at https://www.who.int/campaigns/year-of-the-nurse-and-the-midwife-2020 .


NHS trusts will pay the university course fees from their apprenticeship levy and the apprentice will undertake paid work as a maternity support worker for the trust for the equivalent of one year throughout the four-year programme.


The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.