Our service is focused on encouraging breastfeeding and improving breastfeeding rates, and I support health visitors to provide a valuable service to mums and babies in our area. Gaining a stage three accreditation means our service is reaching the rigorous standards Unicef sets out, meeting the needs of mothers and spreading knowledge in the community.
To achieve this, I delivered training to more than 40 colleagues on how they can best support the development of the early relationship between mothers and babies, the guidelines for responsive bottle feeding and the latest research. The standard of care delivered by the service was highly praised by Unicef during their assessment. Sue Ashmore, the director of Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative, said the knowledge and understanding of our health visitors was excellent – some of the best she’s experienced in the country.
I also took on the training of around 60 children’s centre staff to help them gain stage three Unicef accreditation. This was the first time the two children’s centres had gone through the assessment, and there’s only one other children’s centre in the south west that has the accreditation, so it’s significant that we achieved that. Children’s centres are an excellent vehicle for promoting our message and growing the support in the community because they work closely with families that might not engage so much with health professionals, so to have that two-pronged approach is fantastic.
The next stage of the Unicef BFI accreditation is the gold standard, which means achieving sustainability and commitment from all levels of the service, and we’ve been recommended by Unicef to go for that in the next assessment.
I speak with many mums to get feedback on the support we provide, so I hear first-hand the difference our service makes to their lives. When you hear that the service has enabled mums to continue breastfeeding it’s really wonderful and we know the long-term difference that makes for the baby. It’s not just about food, it’s about delivering love. We’re contributing to the good of society – what could be bigger than that?
Jacqui is at gateway point now and preparing for the End Point Assessment of her Level 3 Senior Healthcare Worker Apprenticeship. She said, “From the first day my whole team have been supportive and encouraging. They want me to be the best I can be”.
Kim is currently halfway through her second year of the Level 5 Healthcare Assistant Practitioner apprenticeship. She said, “I would recommend this apprenticeship as a good opportunity to develop new skills and confidence.”
For this year’s National Apprenticeship week Sarah talks us through the challenges that learners have faced this year, and the benefits of apprenticeships for both the learners and their organisations.
Lead Nurse Amanda Pulford gives us an insight to what it’s like working in a prison.