Maternity support workers help midwives provide care to women, their partners and babies, before, during and after childbirth. Under the direction of a qualified midwife, they support families on labour wards, in maternity theatres, on post-natal wards, or in the community.
As a maternity support worker your duties would include:
You would usually work 37.5 hours a week, including nights, bank holidays and weekends, on a shift or rota system. Flexible and part-time hours are often available.
You would work under the supervision of a registered midwife in a community or hospital setting. In the community, you would usually spend some of your day travelling between clients.
Maternity support workers can earn between £13,600 and £16,300 a year. With experience and relevant qualifications this can rise to around £21,800.
Additional allowances may be paid for working unsocial hours.
You will find most job opportunities within the NHS, in hospitals and the community.
Each NHS Trust can set their own entry requirements, so it is important you check with your local maternity unit about their specific criteria. In general, however, many employers will prefer you to have:
A good general standard of education, for example, four GCSE's (A-C) including English and maths.
Relevant experience, paid or unpaid, in a hospital or with families and young children in a health or social care setting (contact the voluntary services coordinator or manager at your local NHS Trust for further advice (see NHS Choices for a list of Trusts)).
You will also need evidence of your good health and character and a full Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check.
Certificate in Working in the Health Sector, which aims to give you the knowledge you need to work in this industry.
It could be an advantage to have a basic First Aid Certificate and a relevant health care qualification such as a level 2 or 3.
You could start working in a hospital and prepare for a caring career through a Cadet Scheme or Apprenticeship (in many regions, Cadet Schemes have been replaced with Apprenticeships). Schemes vary between Trusts, but will usually include clinical placements and working towards a qualification, such as the new Level 3 Diploma in Clinical Health care Support.
Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.
Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
You can also contact your local NHS Trust (see the NHS Choices website) for details of both cadet and apprenticeship schemes.
You will receive induction training from your employer, which will usually cover areas such as:
- Infection control
- Breast feeding support
- Risk management
- Child protection
- Health and safety
You will continue to develop your skills by working closely with midwives and experienced support workers and by completing a supervised programme of training. This can vary in length and content and you may be assessed at the end of your training.
You may also be encouraged to work towards NVQ levels 2 and 3 in Health.
A new Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) is being introduced and by 2011 at the latest, it's expected that all new learners will be registered for qualifications on the new framework. For this area, relevant new vocational qualifications are expected to include a level 2 and 3 Diploma in Clinical Healthcare Support, and a job role specific Level 3 Diploma in Maternity and Paediatric Support; course providers and employers can give further advice.
As an ambulance technician you would respond to accident and emergency calls, as well as a range of planned and unplanned non-emergency cases. You would usually work in a team, providing support to a paramedic during the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients at the scene of an incident and during hospital transfers.
You may use life saving skills as part of your day-to-day work.
A maternity support worker needs:
Your experience in this role will be useful if you want to go on to train as a midwife or adult nurse.
Skills for Health,
Broad Plain, Bristol BS2 0JP
Tel: 0117 922 1155
PO Box 376,
Tel: 0345 60 60 655
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.