Received from: RCM
The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan commits to expanding the number of midwifery apprenticeships to make up five per cent of training places by 2028. The RCM supports apprenticeships as a route into midwifery.
Almost all recruits into midwife degree apprenticeship programmes are already employed in the NHS as maternity support workers. Attrition from programmes has been just 4 per cent (compared to 13 per cent of traditional students). Evaluation of pilot sites is extremely positive.
The NHS is often the largest employer in a local community, as an ‘anchor institution’ it can have a significant impact on those communities as an employer.
Apprenticeships can make access to midwifery more equitable. The abolition of the bursary from 2017 impacted the demographics of applicants onto midwifery degree programmes, the number of older applicants and applicants with caring responsibilities fell. Applicants to midwifery apprenticeships are generally older and from local communities, more likely to remain with the NHS Trust where they learn.
Midwifery education whether through a degree or degree apprenticeship requires a midwifery educator workforce. Numbers of midwife educators have not kept pace with the increase in students and universities face challenges around retention, low pay and heavy workloads. Addressing the issues faced by the midwifery education workforce is fundamental to the success of midwifery education, and the wider maternity workforce.
Congress calls for:
i. the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan apprenticeship commitments to be backed up by the investment required
ii. financial support for student midwives that reflect actual need
iii. action to address the midwifery educator workforce crisis.
Royal College of Midwives