Apprentices will gain a midwifery degree alongside full registration.
The first-ever cohort of apprentice midwives started their training yesterday (20 January) at Greenwich University.
Developed by Skills for Health and Health Education England (HEE) with support from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), students will gain a midwifery degree and registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) upon completion of the apprenticeship.
A further two midwifery apprenticeship courses will start at the University of West London and the University of Bedford in spring this year.
Apprenticeships will open to those already employed as Maternity Support Workers or as a Registered Nurse.
A cultural shift for midwifery training.
Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the RCM, 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.”
“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.”
An alternative route.
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.”
Adding; “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.”