Sheffield maternity unit celebrates new apprenticeship scheme

A scheme to create new support workers for babies and young mothers has been hailed as a success at Sheffield’s biggest maternity unit.

The Jessop Wing, a Sheffield teaching hospital, has become one of the first maternity units in the country to successfully implement an apprenticeship scheme for maternity support workers.

Maternity support workers help care for mothers, babies and families before, after and during childbirth. They help women settle on the labour ward, assist the midwife when the baby is born, give information on skin to skin bonding, healthy diet and emotional wellbeing.

Hayley Preston, one of the 11 successful apprentices, said: “I feel the knowledge I have developed about assessing newborn well-being and sharing public health information with parents has been beneficial to families I work with. I find my new role rewarding because of the contribution I can make. I am considering applying for an undergraduate midwifery degree in the future.”

The pioneering training scheme has been successful with seven of the cohort of 11 receiving distinctions. The apprenticeships are part of a scheme encouraging the Maternity Support Worker role nationally and is supported by the Royal College of Midwives. It’s an 18 month Senior Healthcare Support Worker Level 3 Apprenticeship that combines learning at Sheffield College with practical hospital experience.

Ali Salmon, Clinical Midwifery Educator at Jessop Wing, said: “The apprentices have not only succeeded academically, but have demonstrated considerable resilience and determination in the face of the extra challenges posed by COVID-19.”

The apprentices age range from 19-50 with varying experience levels. Stephanie Machin, who was also one of the 11 people on the scheme, had worked as a support worker in Jessop Wing for 10 years prior to applying for the apprenticeship.

She said: “I felt ready to do more in my role and learn some new skills. The programme was stressful at times but support was always there from the tutors and assessors. I feel I have proved myself by taking this step and might consider further studying in future.”



Written by Madison Burgess

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