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Apprenticeships are up and running in England for Maternity Support Workers, and are being created in England for Midwives. This page has information about maternity apprenticeships and links to other resources.

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 changed and apprenticeships are becoming more common in healthcare.


Apprenticeships and the NHS 

Apprenticeships are more varied and lead to more careers than you think. They 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.  Not only can maternity support workers train through quality apprenticeships, apprenticeships can give midwives and other NHS professionals new skills in project management and leadership. New Apprenticeship Standards are being created every month.


Latest Update: Skills for Health and Health Education England are working with midwifery leaders in the NHS and in Higher Education to create a Midwifery Apprenticeship, due to take the first students in 2019. A Trailblazer Group has created a draft standard and this has been submitted to the Institute of Apprenticeships for approval. On 25 September, the Assessment plan was submitted too. Read more about this process here

The  midwifery apprenticeship being created is a Degree-level apprenticeship, meaning that they still require the individual to gain a degree in midwifery before they can register with the NMC.


Apprenticeship and maternity support care 

Read our guide to Maternity Support Worker Apprenticeships (published May 2018)

Read more about MSW careers

Read about MSW apprenticeships 

Are you an MSW or MSW apprentice? Become a member of the RCM!



https://www.rcm.org.uk/sites/default/files/MSWs_101016_1.pngAn apprenticeship is one training route to become 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 here on page 6.

The RCM have long championed the need of maternity support staff to have access to appropriate learning and development opportunities, so we welcome quality apprenticeships, which across the UK are rightly becoming a growing feature of the NHS workforce.



  • Read a case study of Nicola Spencer, an MSW apprentice from Guy’s and St Thomas in London
  • Read a case study of Denise Amey, a Maternity Support Worker who completed her apprenticeship at Poole Maternity Hospital.


Apprenticeships and midwifery

New apprenticeships are employer-led, where employers get together as ‘trailblazers’ who work together to design new apprenticeship standards for occupations within their sectors. In July 2018, midwifery leaders in NHS Trusts and in Higher Education in England came together to form a trailblazer and create the first draft Midwifery Apprenticeship Standard. The RCM is a stakeholder to the Trailblazer and we are helping shape how the Standard will grow our midwifery workforce.

This Standard was put out for consultation by Skills for Health and now is awaiting approval by the Institute of Apprenticeships. So too is the Assessment Plan. You can read more about this process here.

How have apprenticeships changed in recent years?

In 2016 the government announced it wanted to increase the use of apprenticeship training. Large organisations – including NHS trusts and Boards - are now paying an apprenticeship levy that the government hopes will fund 3 million new apprenticeships. While all large UK organisations are levied, at the moment the Westminster government’s plans for this apprenticeship fund are more defined. The government is also encouraging public sector organisations, including NHS organisations, to train more apprentices through the public sector apprentice target


Apprenticeships support from the TUC

Apprenticeships are Union BusinessThe 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, ULRs 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 the Unionlearn website