Apprenticeships are up and running in England for maternity support workers, and have just been created in England for midwives. This page has information about maternity apprenticeships and links to other resources.

Latest Update: Four education providers in England have confirmed their intention to run Midwife Degree Apprenticeship programmes in 2019/2020. Read more on the Skills for Health website.

RCM Apprenticeships Guide

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 changed and apprenticeships are becoming more common in healthcare.

Apprenticeships and maternity support care

Roles and Responsibilities for 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, 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.

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 Degree Apprenticeship Standard. The Standard was approved in December 2018. The RCM was a stakeholder to the Trailblazer and helped shape how the Standard will grow our midwifery workforce.

In April 2019, Skills for Health confirmed that four education providers would run a Midwifery Apprentice Programme in 2019-20.

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. Employers and universities will design their programmes so that apprentices can fulfil both these obligations at the same time.

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.

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 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 the Unionlearn website.

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