Anna shares her experience of being an apprentice maternity support worker, how she balances completing her degree whilst working as a support worker and the benefits of studying through a degree apprenticeship.
"Going back to education after 30 years was daunting, especially during a global pandemic. But as I approach the last six months of the apprenticeship, I can honestly say it was the best decision.
"Degree apprenticeships can be challenging at times, but the confidence I have gained, the knowledge and skills I have learned, the experiences and opportunities I have had, and the people I have met have made it all worth it."
The benefits and challenges of a degree apprenticeship
"A key benefit of undertaking a degree apprenticeship is that the knowledge gained on university study days can be applied to clinical practice immediately, whether in an observational role or by actively taking part. It makes the theory become a reality.
"Through my degree apprenticeship, I am currently studying for a foundation degree in health and social care, on the maternity pathway as an assistant practitioner apprentice.
"It is an incredibly supportive learning environment. We all encourage each other to achieve our best and are there for each other during any challenging times. I have found that studying and working alongside peers in the same position at different NHS Trusts creates a natural bond of shared learning and experience.
"Another benefit is that my NHS Trust funds the costs of my apprenticeship, so there is no cost to myself.
"The challenge of a degree apprenticeship is having effective time management. The foundation degree I am studying combines a university study day and my clinical shifts at the hospital every week. There are also module assessments to complete, which can be by completing exams, written assignments, OSCEs and presentations.
Making an application stand out
"It is essential to do some research before completing your application so you can include any relevant experience. This might be from current or previous job roles or hobbies enjoyed in personal free time. Showing passion helps an application to stand out.
Top tip! Ensure the application is concise and relevant to the position, take your time writing it, and ask family, friends or colleagues for help with proofreading before hitting send.
Developing your skills
"Since starting the foundation degree apprenticeship I have developed in multiple ways. In my clinical role as a maternity support worker (MSW), academically and personally, I challenged myself to step out of my comfort zone.
"I have not only gained advanced knowledge and skills in my role as an MSW, but I have also undertaken new challenges such as giving a presentation via MS Teams to other NHS Trusts as a representative of the University and the Foundation Degree Apprenticeship."