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  • A few questions from an aspiring deck cadet.

    Hi guys,

    I've recently applied to, and am continually applying to carious cadetship programmes and just have a few questions. Just a bit of background:

    I am 18 years old with 8 GCSEs all above C, however, I did not undertake any higher education apart from a business apprenticeship. I have been eager to get into the maritime industry and undertook courses last year to join the superyachts. I have already completed my STCW and a couple of rec courses (powerboat level 2, PWC, Radar) I have spent the rest of my time since school working and saving for this career path before stumbling upon cadetships. I have experience mainly in the hospitality sector.

    Would any of this put me in an advantageous position when applying for a cadetship? Or would my lack of higher education restrict me in finding a suitable program?

    Secondly, are you awarded with your MCA OOW unlimited CoC on completion of your cadetship? some websites are not too clear about this.

    Also how long is the process, from applying, to offer as I'm applying in January to probably start in September?

    Finally, how competitive is the process of becoming a cadet? I am looking to jump onto cruise ships but will accept offers from tankers to cargo ships to obtain my OOW unlimited ticket. I am putting all my efforts into my application but just want an idea of how competitive it is getting to that desired cadetship offer.

    Sorry for all the questions, just trying to get a better idea on what I'm getting myself into and what I need to do. Thanks for all the help!


  • #2
    Hi and welcome to the site and potentially your new career

    Qualifications: Providing you meet the minimum academic requirements for the HND course you are fine - I presume if you're applying you have checked and meet said requirements for the companies you are applying to.

    STCW Short Courses / RYA stuff: Maybe advantageous from an application point of view, but are irrelevant for your cadetship - RYA, etc. are worthless on the commercial side, and your sponsor will most probably require you to redo the STCW courses to ensure they will be valid when you are at the end of your cadetship.

    MCA OOW Unlimited: All UK cadetships lead to Officer of the Watch Unlimited Certificate of Competency, this is achieved after meeting the academic requirements from your college (whether it is HND/FD/BSc), acquiring a minimum of 12 months sea time, complete necessary additional STCW courses as required by the MCA and pass the relevant MCA Oral Examination. Be aware that it is possible to pass the academic requirements for the college course but fail to meet the stricter MCA pass mark requirements which also apply to some of the units that form part of the college course.

    With the current situation, there has been an obvious effect on the availability of the cadetship, if your preference is to work on cruise ships then I would recommend you do your best to be considered by a cruise sponsor - whether that be direct to the cruise line or via SSTG / one of the other agencies. If you're applying through Clyde Marine bear in mind very few of their cadets are placed with one of their cruise sponsors and you would not find out if you were until day 1 of college. If a career at sea is something you want and you're unable to obtain a cadetship with a cruise line, but with another company, your licence doesn't impose any restrictions on moving company/ship types however no one knows the job situation in 3/4 years time and whether you will find it difficult to move to another ship type/company.

    Also, bear in mind that NONE of the companies GUARANTEE you employment on completion of your cadetship; some may currently "aim" to employ their cadets but as stated above no one knows the situation in 3/4 years time! Having said that however there are many sponsors who will never offer you a position at the end as they don't employ British officers, whether you're willing to take that risk or not is up to you and your own circumstances.
    ?Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn?t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.?

    ? Mark Twain
    myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Connor,

      I?ll try to break down each individual question:
      • Would having some STCWs and powerboating etc give you an advantage in applying? Almost definitely over an identical candidate without that experience. A lot of cadets have backgrounds in sea cadets, sailing and similar things and this usually helps them through the interview stage.
      • Would lack of higher education restrict you? It will not restrict you in obtaining a cadetship, but it will restrict which course you are eligible for. You will only be able to complete the deck HNC/HND route - nothing wrong with this, the majority of us did this route. IF your business course included maths or mathematical content at a similar level to A-level then you may be eligible for the Foundation Degree route, this will be down to the college/sponsor to decide eligibility. The benefit of the FD route is when you come to do your chief officer and captains tickets you won?t have to do as much, if any, academic work at college.
      • Is your CoC awarded at the end of the cadetship? Yes. Your written exams for the CoC will happen at the end of your college time, your oral exam will likely happen just after you finish the final college phase and your CoC will be issued shortly after. Mine was issued 3 months after my cadetship finished thanks to some delays, I think a few in my class had theirs in the month after our cadetship finished.
      • How long is the process from applying to offer? Can be days, months or years. Likely the first two. If you apply in January there is a small chance they may offer you a January position starting ASAP. But it?s likely January applications will be for September now. I applied in August and started in September as they often have a few last minute drop outs.
      • How competitive is the process? Not very in my opinion, so long as you?ve got the required grades and have good reasons/background showing why you want to work at sea. I haven?t heard of someone that hasn?t managed to get a cadetship in a long time (unless for medical reasons).
      Onto the cruise ship part. Cruise ship cadetships were (before COVID) probably the most competitive when we talk about Carnival, Holland America and Princess. Now COVID has decimated the industry nobody really knows what will happen with cadet recruitment. My guess is it won?t be affected as they still seem to prefer filling their qualified roles with their own cadets and they have large amounts of orders for new ships which haven?t been cancelled, others guess differently.

      I?d say you?re applying early enough for September to have an advantage in selecting the best company, so if I were you I?d aim at the cadetships which have the best track record of hiring people: RFA, PG Tankers, James Fisher, Whitaker?s tankers, P&O Ferries (SSTG - you can stipulate to them when applying you?re mainly interested in P&O and they can try and work it out for you, some of their other sponsors are crap), Northern Marine Management. If cruise applications open up then I?d say go for it, as if they recruit cadets they?re probably going to be hiring them at the end. Don?t pin your hopes on Royal Caribbean who hire through Clyde Marine Training, you?d be lucky to get with them and you won?t find out if you?re that lucky one until day 7 of your cadetship... my whole intake had 1 RC cadet.

      Edit: Alistair beat me to it. Glad to see most of the advice agrees with one another. He mentions one valuable point: nobody can guarantee you will get employed by them after the cadetship, like aviation, this can be a turbulent industry and some find themselves stuck in the ?you need a job to get experience, you need experience to get a job? cycle. If working at sea is your goal, rather than being a deck officer, I?d forever advise go for an engineering or ETO cadetship instead - you get to work at sea and have many land based careers to fall back onto if you?re struck with bad luck during your career, junior and/or inexperienced deck officers may not find coming back to land so easy.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you both for the replies, this has helped so much and superseded any information I could find on sponsors and agencies websites.

        Do you know of any other cruise or ferry agencies and sponsors other than Carnival, Holland America and Princess?

        I've sent applications to both Carnival and Princess and was stuck scouring the internet for any more.

        Thanks again for the help guys, really appreciate it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Connor2002 View Post
          Thank you both for the replies, this has helped so much and superseded any information I could find on sponsors and agencies websites.

          Do you know of any other cruise or ferry agencies and sponsors other than Carnival, Holland America and Princess?

          I've sent applications to both Carnival and Princess and was stuck scouring the internet for any more.

          Thanks again for the help guys, really appreciate it.
          In addition to the above you also have;

          SSTG deal with cadets for Marella Cruises
          Clyde Marine deals with cadets for Royal Caribbean & Disney Cruise Line but your odds of being selected are, as mentioned above minuscule
          Chiltern does send their cadets to cruise lines occasionally as they have agreements with Fred Olsen and some others.
          ?Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn?t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.?

          ? Mark Twain
          myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.

          Comment


          • #6
            MSC Cruises and Saga Cruises also recruit for cadets through Chiltern - Chiltern also would tell you if you are allocated with one of them / which company you?d be with before you need to commit to a cadetship.

            Comment


            • #7
              Awesome, I've applied to Chiltern and spoke to them and they say they're going through applications in late January.

              I'll have a look and apply to SSTG today aswell.

              Thanks for all the help guys, made things a lot clearer.

              Comment


              • #8
                If your looking at superyachts this cadetship might be useful to you https://uksa.org/course/professional...cht-cadetship/ , it works a bit differently than a standard cadetship with the funding and the sea time. But I would have a look at it if you are particularly interested in superyachts.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by alistairuk View Post

                  In addition to the above you also have;

                  SSTG deal with cadets for Marella Cruises
                  Clyde Marine deals with cadets for Royal Caribbean & Disney Cruise Line but your odds of being selected are, as mentioned above minuscule
                  Chiltern does send their cadets to cruise lines occasionally as they have agreements with Fred Olsen and some others.
                  Marella Cruises are now done by Chiltern, SSTG just have not updated their website.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Michael Stephens View Post
                    If your looking at superyachts this cadetship might be useful to you https://uksa.org/course/professional...cht-cadetship/ , it works a bit differently than a standard cadetship with the funding and the sea time. But I would have a look at it if you are particularly interested in superyachts.
                    This looks awful! Lots of "cans" and "mights" when it comes to being debt free, no guarantee of anything.

                    Personal highlights are the graduate stories, "bring the biggest microfibre towel you can" and "Before the course: office salesman, after the course: Dock walking (unemployed).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I've had a look at UKSA but they seem to either be very expensive or extremely difficult to get funding for.

                      But I'll check out their funding options again, I know Trinity House produce funding for some candidates.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by agibbs98 View Post

                        This looks awful! Lots of "cans" and "mights" when it comes to being debt free, no guarantee of anything.

                        Personal highlights are the graduate stories, "bring the biggest microfibre towel you can" and "Before the course: office salesman, after the course: Dock walking (unemployed).
                        That and the fact you come out with a lesser ticket (<3000GT). Course is a year longer as well! I also note the nice bit of age discrimination on the "are you between 18-25?" I would in no way discount the yacht industry as a whole but I wouldn't think this is the best way to go about it. Make sure you get an unlimited ticket for a start.

                        Comment

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