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At a crossroads........

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  • At a crossroads........

    First time poster, long time lurker.

    I am currently 28 and worked in the retail energy industry for ScottishPower as a Reporting Analyst which I have been doing since getting a degree in IT Management 6 years ago.

    I earn a good salary but for the last year I have been contemplating a complete change in career after 3 years of beginning to hate what I do and have been looking into a couple of different things. I am now seriously considering an application to become a deck officer cadet in the MN.

    I understand through sponsorship programs I would be dropping to a modest salary am I right in saying this would be tax/NI free?

    Would I even be eligible for a cadet sponsorship program given I have studied for a degree in the UK previously?

    I am currently engaged and me and my fiancee have a wedding booked in February 2014. I suppose I am unsure of the ability of me to make commitments for a wedding when I have no idea if I would be at sea or land and would there be a provision for me to have leave during cadetship for this?

    I am open to the possibility of holding off until the wedding has passed but I will be almost 30 by then.

    Am I crazy? Any help or advice appreciated.

  • #2
    Hi Mulson,

    It's quite an age to start, and it will be harder being older, but its definately achievable. You're right that you'd be thrown back to the bottom, so would have to take 3 years on a training allowance, and then would probably be able to earn around 18,000 - 28,000 GBP tax free after qualifying until you'll built up some experience.

    I would recommend getting your application in to as many companies as possible, as early as possible, then finding a way to work around your wedding closer to the time. Most companies will be a little flexible in something like that.

    You have to ask yourself why you want to work at sea through first, so that you know that your making the right decision.


    • #3
      I was 27 when I began my cadetship (with an unsatisfying career behind me) and therefore was in a similar position to you.

      The amount you earn varies greatly from company to company; some pay you whilst at sea others don't. Some give you a laptop allowance, most don't. Ultimately if you have been working previously undoubtedly your cadet salary will pale in comparison.

      Yes I do still have deductions taken from my training salary and having a degree does not preclude you from a cadetship - I have one also.

      Again, whether you are here or not in Feb 2014 is dependant on a couple of things. Some companies send cadets away the moment they finish a college phase, some give you a bit of time off. There are two intakes a year, September and January. If you are of the January variety (like me) then you will be in the UK during February in phase 1 and 3 of your training. If September I think I am right in saying that phase 1 finishes before Christmas but phase 3 continues into the new year? (someone will have to correct me).

      Essentially you will have leave during a cadetship. As a deckie you need 12 months sea time to qualify and, at my college, there is a window of around 19 months to get it. How much leave you get and when you get it will again depend on when you start and who your company is.

      As for holding off until you're 30, no problem! There are people at my college in their 40's and others in my intake over 30. Having said that, my one regret is that I didn't find this career earlier and wish I had started 5 years ago.

      Definitely not crazy. If you're unhappy in life, change something.

      Hope this helps.


      • #4
        [QUOTE=Maso210;51267] There are people at my college in their 40's and others in my intake over 30. QUOTE]

        Wow, is all I can say when I hear of people making the decision at 40+, and that is one major decision if you reach that point. I think the older you get the harder the decision becomes, but once you reach your 40's and have commitments, it must be quite hard to embark on a cadetship for 3 years and I have a lot of respect for the people that make that decision.

        The hardest part for some is knowing that their Captains will often be younger then them. I'm in my late 20's and have several friends from college of the same age who have already held their first command, one of whom on a large passenger ferry. I've reached the dizzy heights of Chief Officer, and already have sailed with cadets older then me.

        I'd say it takes around 8-10 years from zero to holding a Masters ticket, and so that must be factored in.

        Being at sea can be a great life, lots of travel and in some sectors involves exceptionally good salaries.

        Still it must be interesting for a 40+ year old to have to sit next to a snotty nosed 16 year old who thinks that farting is the funniest thing on earth....


        • #5
          Farting is the funniest thing mater what age you are....:-)
          Trust me I'm a Chief.

          Views expressed by me are mine and mine alone.
          Yes I work for the big blue canoe company.
          No I do not report things from here to them as they are quite able to come and read this stuff for themselves.

          Twitter:- @DeeChief


          • #6
            i'm not really sure why you would need to factor in the time it would take to get a masters ticket, as if you only want to be captain then those ten years arent going to be that enjoyable, and given that your changing from a job you dont like then really your aim has to be to be enjoying it from the first ship after a cadetship.

            The cadet ship is hard to adjust to i had a good salary and pretty much no overheads so feel rather constrained earning 8K or what ever it adds up to, that said if you have commitments etc then you really need to look carefully at what money you need, given that you will also be having to rent and live at college etc. As for organising leave for the wedding it may well be something that is worth talking to a recruiter about they should be flexiable but if its likely to be in the middle of a sea phase then it becomes a bit harder

            at 30 now and with a year still to go i think it was the right move, but how well you adapt etc will depend on your own circumstances
            you can take it with a pinch of salt, but i prefer it with a nip of whisky


            • #7
              I've always been of the attitude that if something is getting to you, it's time to get out. I really don't think a good wage is tantamount to a great life if the bulk of your working hours are spent in misery.

              Touch wood I'll be starting my cadetship in August. I'm 27 and fell into the post-graduate abyss after university working a string of rubbish jobs. I'm only earning ?6,000 a year right now, so my cadet pay will actually be an improvement, but if you are unhappy and have the means to make a change I think it's something worth pursuing (I left a reasonably well paid job to go travelling in my mid-20's because I felt I'd missed out by not doing it earlier).

              One thing I'm learning from experience is that you will have to make it plainly clear the sacrifices required to join this career to your partner and also the benefits; I personally think a lot more quality time together is better than sat in front of the TV night in night out. As for dealing with seniors my age or younger - I've dealt with that already, to reach a position of influence they have to have demonstrated maturity and knowledge. If you're the type to get het up about a younger senior then good luck with your later life and get over yourself.