• Safe & Effective
  • Kind & Caring
  • Exceeding Expectation
Magnificent seven appointed apprentice Midwives

Magnificent seven appointed apprentice Midwives

Date of release: 5 May 2023

Seven Maternity Support Workers (MSWs) are set to make history at New Cross Hospital after being appointed as Apprentice Midwives.

The MSWs at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) – all women – will start the same BMid degree courses as student Midwives at the University of Wolverhampton in September to kickstart three years of study through their apprenticeships.

Once they qualify, this will represent a record number of Apprentice Midwives recruited in the three years RWT has been running the project after three were recruited in the first year and two last year.

Latest News: Seven Midwife Apprentices
Apprentice Midwives, from left: Abigail McDonald, Jodie Martin, Nicola Cox, Rebecca Hartshorn, Lucy Woodcock, Charlie Cooper and Sonia Narwall

Joanne Lea has been Maternity Transformation Project Lead at RWT since April 2022 to enable progression and development for MSWs with the hope of recruiting more Midwives.

“It’s a really good opportunity for MSWs to become future Midwives,” said Joanne on International Day of the Midwife. “Because of the national shortage of Midwifery workforce, we are trying to recruit innovatively.

“It’s such an exciting opportunity for our MSWs as in three years’ time we’ll be in a position where we’ll have seven homegrown Midwives.”

A great example of the project is Jodie Martin, MSW. The 32-year-old, who has a three-year-old daughter, shone in her interview.

“Jodie was cleaning and stocking the storerooms when we found out what her Midwifery aspirations were,” said Joanne.

“We got her on this apprenticeship, fully supported and fully funded by the Trust, and hopefully she will give us many years’ service in return. Another MSW, Sonia Narwall, actually joined us from Warwick because she’d heard about the programme.”

A big advantage of the programme is staff can ‘learn while they earn’ without incurring expensive tuition fees.

“They won’t have any university fees and are paid throughout their apprenticeship,” added Joanne, who has spent 32 of her 38 years in the NHS at New Cross Hospital. “For those who have other commitments outside of work, this is an ideal opportunity.”

With a well publicised national shortage of midwives, RWT is increasing all of its student pipelines, including the apprenticeship.

And with the numbers of those training rising, Joanne hopes the success of recruiting seven homegrown Midwife apprentices can help more to follow them.

“This is another way of attracting Midwives,” said Joanne. “We’re hoping that because they’ve worked for the NHS and we offer flexible working patterns – along with many developmental opportunities – we can retain our workforce.

“We’re already supporting them to complete their English and Maths qualifications, we have 100 per cent compliance from all our MSWs completing the Care Certificate and we’re offering them apprenticeships at different levels.”

Joanne says the apprenticeship route shows there are more ways into Midwifery than the conventional degree course, and that there is more flexibility.

“We recruit at any age and also have the shortened programme which is a two-year ‘top-up’ for Registered Nurses to become Midwives,” added Joanne.

Today, on International Day of the Midwife, RWT celebrates its workforce.

Tracy Palmer, Director of Midwifery at RWT, said: “I am extremely proud of the work and commitment from our teams of staff who are working relentlessly to recruit into our profession.

“The apprenticeship programme is an exemplar example of how workforce leads and senior leaders are looking to the future to keep our profession resilient, as well as our women, babies and families safe.”


Notes to Editors

  • For more information, please contact Tim Nash on 07714 741097 or email tim.nash2@nhs.net
Press release issued by the Communications team. For more information contact the team on 01902 695884
A Teaching Trust of the University of Birmingham