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  • Age for cadetship?

    From what age do you think sponsoring companies are likely to take someone for a cadetship on? Because you finish your A-levels and leave school at around 18 or 19, but wouldn't shipping companies prefer someone older with a little more expertise? If so, what are good things to do when you leave school?

    Thanks, Chloe

  • #2
    Hi Chloe, you can start a cadetship at 16, although I'd advise getting A-levels first. It used to be that sponsor companies would only accept 16-18 year olds in fact, but the age discrimination laws put paid to that (thank god, otherwise I'd never have gotten in!) Getting sponsorship has become highly competitive these days as the number of applicants has risen so if you want to give yourself an edge you need to have good grades and have something on your CV that makes you stand out, for me it was the 7 months on a Tall Ship that I'd just done when I applied, I'd started off as a paying trainee for three months, then volunteered for another two and then actually got paid for the last two months (not much mind, but it was enough to pay for beers and smokes!). The experience I got by doing that meant I had many of the basic skills already under my belt, such as knots and splices, basic chartwork, keeping a lookout and what lights and shapes meant as well as being away at sea for long periods of time and knowing I could deal with it. (That's the deal breaker for a lot of people, they get away on their first trip and find they hate being at sea and miss home too much). Going on a Tall Ship as a trainee is an expensive thing to do, so consider a gap year, working for 9 months of that to save up and then doing a three month trip. Alternatively you could join the sea cadets or similar, there are lots of options out there! One of the things that sponsor companies look for most is potential for leadership and teamwork, as as an officer you will have to take charge a lot, so guides or scouts might be another option too, and you could start that while still at school. Best of luck.
    Last edited by size4riggerboots; 4 December 2011, 03:38 PM. Reason: spelling :/

    Size4riggerboots

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    • #3
      It depends on what side of the industry you want to get in to. I believe that Cruise Ships want slightly older cadets (I may be wrong) but when it comes to cargo it doesn't really matter.

      As for stuff to help your application, S4 has already got it right with the A-Levels. These show that you are capable of studying at a higher level and that you can go off and work on your own and that you don't need to be spoonfed everything. However I would also try to do as much extra curricular stuff as you can as this will no doubt help. Maybe wander off to your local coastguard, RNLI or Mission to Seafarers and see if you can do some voluntary stuff in there (they're always after volunteers). As S4 says, they want folks who show leadership abilities and team working skills and there are lots ways you can go about showing that, just have to have a look around your local area and see what you can do. I was a diving instructor when I applied, so I have all my basic maintenance parts down, leadership (I was teaching people) and teamwork (have to work as a team if you don't want it going pear shaped) and that was something they were happy with.

      When it comes to experience or expertise, the only way to get that is to go on-board, so I would suggest contacting a company that is local to you and has ships that come in to a port near you and asking them if it would be possible to go on board and speak to the crew/have a look around. That shows you're interested in this line of work and gives you a chance to speak to those at the sharp end of things and generally learn about what life is like on board.

      Good luck with any applications you make and let us know how you get on!
      I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

      All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by GuinnessMan View Post
        It depends on what side of the industry you want to get in to. I believe that Cruise Ships want slightly older cadets (I may be wrong) but when it comes to cargo it doesn't really matter.
        There's not an official age restriction, it's mostly based on interview results and the company's opinion on you personally.

        I would agree with GuinnessMan though, the youngest cruise company cadet I've seen was 17, nearly 18. The youngest cargo ship cadet I saw was 16.

        Although, some companies like clyde or trinity house take cadets who are 16, who then go on to serve on cruise ships in their sea phases. But I think this is more by chance than design.

        To boldly go.....
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        OfficerCadet.com

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        • #5
          Hi there Chloe, I have yet to secure an interview, and there seems to be a major glut of "high quality candidates" at the moment. I can tell you that I have only the basic maths level required by some companies, and below that now stated by most recruiters - so make sure above all else that you have the best possible maths level you can get.

          Also, don't worry about experience as such, I've got loads of it, leadership, teaching, running my own business for years....seems to count for nothing so far. I suggest you take the advice offered above, and get some maritime activity under your belt while you're (hopefully) in a position to do so. I lack this also, and the guys seem to think it is a major consideration. Just to bore you with my problem, I'm stuck with having to earn a living and keep a house together, so no easy way to get any more qualifications or volunteer experience....if you can, I would head in that direction asap.

          All the Best

          SM
          I'm no expert, but I really don't think it should be making that noise...

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          • #6
            Wow, it is kind of scary that if i really wanted to I could become a cadet in under two years time (not that i am planning on doing so, i want to get some A-levels under my belt first!). Surely at nautical collage the age difference is huge?

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            • #7
              It will vary quite a bit. I was 21 when I started college and we had a lad who was 29, another who was 16, and so on....

              Age doesn't make much of a difference here, but level of maturity...
              I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

              All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

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              • #8
                In my opinion, if you apply at 16 and get in i would say that's better than getting A-levels, because by the time ur mates have finished alevels and are in uni you will be on a good salary with a stable job and a great life ahead of you... all the while they are building debt getting a degree that statistically they wont get a relevant job with.
                "My Job"

                It's not my place to run the boat
                the fog horn I can't blow.

                It's not my place to say just where
                the boat's allowed to go

                It's not my right to dock the boat
                or even clang the bell

                But let the damn thing
                start to sink AND SEE WHO CATCHES HELL!

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                • #9
                  I was 26 when I started, but there were also 18yr olds starting on the FD too, I think it's all down to how you present yourself, on paper and in person. Even if you don't want to do the FD I still think it's worth getting A-levels, and if what I've heard on the grapevine is correct, the FD is going to give way to the HNC so you will be better off in the long run by getting as many qualifications as you can.

                  Size4riggerboots

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by size4riggerboots View Post
                    I was 26 when I started, but there were also 18yr olds starting on the FD too, I think it's all down to how you present yourself, on paper and in person. Even if you don't want to do the FD I still think it's worth getting A-levels, and if what I've heard on the grapevine is correct, the FD is going to give way to the HNC so you will be better off in the long run by getting as many qualifications as you can.
                    Plus with the competition to get places these days, they certainly wouldn't hurt when it comes to applications.....
                    I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

                    All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

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                    • #11
                      I started at 17, and most people in my group were the same age. The oldest then was 26, and later on I saw a 32 year old.
                      Now when I'm training cadets I find the younger ones much easier to condition and institutionalise, but on the whole, if they are motivated and interested it doesn't matter what age you start at.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by AncientMariner View Post
                        I find the younger ones much easier to condition and institutionalise
                        You sure you don't mean brain wash and indoctrinate....

                        :-)
                        I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

                        All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

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                        • #13
                          It depends what you want out of the cadetship which dictates whether you wait to get A-Levels.

                          If you want a foundation degree (which you will need to to up to B.A. Hons if you want to use it as a full degree) then you will need to have A-Levels. This can be more useful if you want to get a job ashore within a short space of time after you qualify.

                          If you just want your ticket (certificate of competency) then GCSE's a can do and willing attitude would get you onto the HND course.

                          At the end of each of these courses you get an Officer of the Watch certificate, the exam with the MCA is the same regardless of HND/HNC/FD background. The tickets are all the same, and if you wanted to move ashore later on you can. If you stay at sea long enough to get a Master Mariner Certificate then you will still be able to get pretty much any shore job within the shipping industry regardless if you have GCSEs or A-Levels.

                          In my strictly personal opinion, I feel that starting after GCSE's and going to college is preferable. Especially if you don't want to do maths A-Level and take physics instead. This is why:

                          - On an FD course you spend longer at college before you go to sea than the other courses. While this isn't a disadvantage in itself, you could go to sea after this college phase and then discovering you really can't handle the sea life or your chronically seasick or something. It would seem a shame to waste all that time in college (which could be up to 6 months) if you then decide you want to quit.

                          - You will have to have taken maths at GCSE level, but you could still get a place if you have physics A-Level. If you start after GCSE's you will still be fresh on most of the maths you need and will be used to learning in a classroom environment. HND/HNC is more structured with scheduled lessons than FD. While FD does have scheduled lessons, there is more study time. Which leads me onto my next point.

                          - I personally found it easier to study in a structured classroom environment with lessons most of the day every day instead of large self study periods. I found it easier to discipline myself and help was readily available to me, being in class every day.

                          This is of course just my opinion, and not to say that FD doesn't work, because it does. It's just what I found easier.

                          To boldly go.....
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                          OfficerCadet.com

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                          • #14
                            I think that I should do both A-levels and then HND course in order to keep my options open for the future, plus getting parental permission to run off to sea at the tender age of 16 is probably not the most amazing plan....

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by AncientMariner View Post
                              I find the younger ones much easier to condition and institutionalise
                              You sure you don't mean brain wash and indoctrinate....

                              :-)
                              I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

                              All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

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