By: 22 February 2023
Dreams of helping to bring new life into the world have become a reality for two former Maternity Support Workers

First home grown qualified midwives set to take up new posts at NHS Medway Trust

Abbie Hadlow and Charlotte Slater, who are both aged 30, are the first MSWs to complete a midwifery degree apprenticeship offered through the Trust in partnership with Greenwich University Medway Campus.

The pair were among the first cohort of students, employed by NHS Trusts across Kent and London, to start the three year degree apprenticeship in January 2020 and like any degree it consisted of 50 per cent of academic work and 50 per cent practical placement on a maternity unit. As both of their placements were at Medway Maritime Hospital, not only did it mean they were in a familiar setting with people they already knew, the added bonus was that as it was a degree apprenticeship both Abbie and Charlotte remained employed by the Trust, allowing them to earn while they learn.

Abbie, who lives in Sittingbourne and worked as a MSW at the Trust for a year before applying for the midwifery degree apprenticeship, said: “I knew becoming a midwife was my goal even before I applied to become a maternity support worker so when the midwifery degree apprenticeship came up, thanks to my experience in the care setting, I knew I was ready to put my experience and knowledge to the test and pursue my dream of becoming a midwife.

“The degree consisted of working in all areas of maternity and gaining experience in each setting. During each shift I worked alongside a practice supervisor who guided me and helped me to develop my skills to deliver quality care to women and their families.

“While the university placement was a welcome break from the work placement, essays were involved and sometimes with a young family at home I found myself up late on several occasions trying to complete them.

“The Trust’s organisational development team was behind me every step of the way though offering support, a shoulder to cry on through difficult shifts, guidance, and encouragement.

“Now I have completed the apprenticeship I am excited about starting my new role as a qualified midwife and getting my feet firmly on the ground. I have so much support at work so I am not too worried, however the nerves are there, of course!

“To anybody thinking of doing an apprenticeship I would say go for it! It’s a great way to learn alongside colleagues that you know and in an area that you are familiar with. The university and the Trust have been so supportive – I cannot thank them enough for the opportunities they have given me!”

Charlotte, who worked at the Trust as a MSW for two years before applying for the midwifery degree apprenticeship, said: “Becoming a qualified midwife was a childhood ambition for me. I would not have been able to financially afford to go to university as an adult but thanks to the Trust offering the midwifery degree apprenticeship I was able to achieve my goal while being financially secure.

“I received a lot of support, especially from my colleagues in the antenatal department, and I will forever be grateful to them. I hope to progress my career with the Trust and become a Band 6 midwife in the future.”

Evonne Hunt, Chief Nursing Officer at Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Congratulations to Abbie and Charlotte for becoming the Trust’s first home grown midwives after they successfully completed the midwifery degree apprenticeship, which we are very proud to offer.

“Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m pleased to say they were still able to continue with their placements here at the Trust and their studies through virtual classrooms.

“The midwifery degree apprenticeship, which is open to Maternity Support Workers or adult nurses, offers a different route into the profession. In addition it provides the Trust with a fantastic opportunity to develop its existing staff and create home grown midwives, both of which will help us to deliver the best of care to women both before, during and after the birth of their child.”


Source and image: Medway NHS Foundation Trust

Image: Abbie Hadlow and Charlotte Slater