Sheffield maternity unit celebrates success of new team of apprentices

Sheffield’s Jessop Wing has become one of the first maternity units in the country to successfully introduce an apprenticeship scheme for maternity support workers.

Saturday, 20th February 2021, 12:00 pm

A group of 11 have completed the 18-month Senior Healthcare Support Worker Level 3 Apprenticeship, with seven obtaining a distinction.

The scheme combined practical hospital experience with learning at Sheffield College.

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

Maternity support worker Stephanie Machin

The apprentices ranged in age from 19 to 50, with some already having prior experience as support workers while others were new to the role. They were able to complete the course despite the challenges of the pandemic, with distance learning enabling them to continue their studies.

The role of an MSW can include helping women to settle on the labour ward, assisting the midwife when a baby is born, supporting new mothers to care for their baby in the early days and giving information on skin-to-skin bonding, safe-sleeping for newborns, healthy diet, smoking cessation and emotional well-being.

The successful apprentices were Gemma Hall, Chelsea Portaluri, Justine Deakin, Becky Harrison, Rachel Bennett, Hayley Preston, Amanda Wilks, Steph Machin, Jenny Harrison, Kayli-Rose Green and Olivia Rider.

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.”

Steph Machin said: “I had worked as a support worker in 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 from the tutors and assessors.”

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