[1] A Bridge Between the Learner and their Potential Future: The impact of the HE Certificate in Maternity Care; student experiences and outcomes



A Bridge Between the Learner and their Potential Future: The impact of the HE Certificate in Maternity Care; student experiences and outcomes

Author (s)

Nicky Court Midwifery Lecturer
College of Human and Health Sciences


The innovative and unique HE Certificate in maternity care (CMC) was introduced to Swansea University as an undergraduate course in September 2014. It is run as an inclusive (widening access) course offering students from a variety of backgrounds and experiences (all with varying expectations and ambitions) the opportunity to gain an education at certificate level. Thus, it is radical in its approach to empowering students (all of whom, to date, are women) and promoting and enhancing personal and academic development. The course was designed and implemented for students wishing to learn about women and families within the context of maternity care and reproductive health, and focuses on self-development and a wide range of highly transferable skills. As such, it is student focused and employs principles of andragogy and blended learning to enhance learning autonomy and self-efficacy as well as self-awareness . Despite initial misgivings from the department, this is currently a very successful course with high rates of student numbers, retention and successful course completion, which is significant given the diversity of the student body. Students who have completed the course have been successful in gaining employment, degree places in their chosen professional field and have gone on to set up in their own businesses. As the CMC course has been running for three years and appears to be going from strength to strength with applications for each year well exceeding the previous, this study focused on exploring and evaluating the learning experience and student outcomes of the CMC course using a Grounded Theory approach which identifies key themes relating to the student experience and the impact of this kind of programme on the learner. It is possible to conclude on initial findings that the programme acts as a bridge between the learner and their potential future. The results of this study will be of benefit to guide future development of the course and to identify the value and impact of this kind of programme with potential transferability to other disciplines.

Session Outline

This will be a short power-point presentation followed by a discussion.

This course was set up to widen access into higher education for people who may have never considered it. We take applications form a wide variety of candidates (some who may have no qualifications)and introduce them to a wide range of teaching and assessment methods, with the intention to stimulate and build students self confidence and belief in their academic abilities.

Key Words

inclusivity, widening access, confidence, self- belief, stepping stone

Key Messages

Entering higher education can be a daunting experience for many, this course has been developed to encourage people to gain an education at HE level.


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