Sheffield Teaching Hospitals celebrates first maternity support workers to complete new apprenticeship

The maternity unity at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals has celebrated its first clutch of apprentices to pass through a pioneering training scheme.

Monday, 15th February 2021, 3:09 pm
Maternity support worker Hayley Preston.

The Jessop Wing was one of the first in the country to introduce the maternity support worker (MSW) programme, which combines practical hospital experience with learning at Sheffield College.

Gemma Hall, Chelsea Portaluri, Justine Deakin, Becky Harrison, Rachel Bennett, Hayley Preston, Amanda Wilks, Steph Machin, Jenny Harrison, Kayli-Rose Green and Olivia Rider recently completed the 18-month level three apprenticeship, with seven of them obtaining a distinction.

Clinical midwifery educator Ali Salmon 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.”

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The apprenticeships are part of a drive supported by the Royal College of Midwives to develop the MSW role nationally and give workers the skills to be part of multi-disciplinary teams looking after mums and babies.

The role of an MSW can include helping women to settle on the labour ward, assisting the midwife during birth, and supporting new mothers to care for their baby in the early days with information on bonding, sleeping, diet, and emotional wellbeing.

The apprentices ranged in age from 19 to 50, with some already having experience as support workers while others were new to the role.

Steph said: “I had worked on Jessop Wing for 10 years before I applied for the apprenticeship. 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.

“It has helped me every day to be a valuable member of the maternity team. I am also looking forward to learning more skills.”

Hayley added: “I found it hard at first, especially returning to education after a long break. I have gained confidence and feel able to assist with more tasks now.

“It has been beneficial to families I work with and 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.”