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  • Current Job Prospects

    Hello all!

    I am very new to this forum and loving it so far, a great resource for us eager young (relatively) minds

    As you can imagine I am an aspiring deck cadet and although I have firmly set my sights on a career in the merchant navy (changing from a highly unsustainable freelance career as an audio engineer) and not much is going to deter me, I was interested in picking your brains about the current climate for securing long term contracts after completing the OOW ticket? (wow... long sentence 0.o)

    I understand that receiving a cadet sponsorship by no means guarantees long term future employment (due to Tonnage Tax requirements being the main motivator for taking on us young'uns). Now I imagine that exceptional results and diligence during the cadetship would be a large factor in a future career with a company.

    This is of particular interest to me as I am a multinational, and have the option of getting a degree and OOW ticket through a couple universities in norway without a sponsor, and would of course end up on the lookout for employment after completion. Something that doesn't seem to be an option in the UK.

    Anyways, without prattling on too much, what are some of your experiences, thoughts or fears regarding this subject?

    fair winds to all,

  • #2
    As I understand (my training company was Norwegian, so I worked with Norwegian Officers) both countries have a good training schemes. I think Norway has an option to take all your exams etc in one go, and then all you need is seatime after that to progress up the ranks? Odd system. (Or am I confusing with Sweden or Finland? I can't recall know, it was a while since I had this convo, and I have worked with deckies of all three!)

    To be honest, I would say your job prospects are actually better than a British officer, as you have an option to work in the North Sea within the Norwegian sector which most Uk officers don't have. Norway has stricter language requirements, and many rigs in their waters require Norwegian (Scandinavian) speaking officers to converse with the rigs.

    All things well and done, I would guess the UK system is possibly the easier of the two, but that is no more than a guess.


    • #3
      Hey, yeah. The norwegian system is set up so that the theoretical and short course stuff is all done first, and then its up to you to secure the required months at sea. There is an option to do this as a gap year, and one of the schools has agreements with a couple companies for summer hols and a 4 month period after completion of degree. I just like the structure and security provided by the UK system, as well as the fact that it takes 3 years instead of 4 to complete (FND route).

      And yes, apparently when the degree is done you have the theory to get a D1 licence, which with the right amount of sea time allows you to be master on any ship. (6 years or so I seem to remember reading). Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here :P

      Those things aside though, do you feel there are a comparable amount of jobs to graduates? I currently work and study in the audio industry, and I can tell you its the most insane ratio I have ever encountered (waaaaaaaaay too many graduates.... like.... 98% more than there are jobs).


      • #4
        In the UK at least, there seems to be a surfeit of Deck Officers, so purely from that side finding a job is not guaranteed. I suspect the company you end up being sponsored by probably influences this, and of course which ships you sail with. I can't give specifics, being an Engineer I do not know much about deck stuff!! I know that Cruise companies seem to keep cadets on as Officers, but not much else I am afraid.

        As I said, I would expect you to have a better chance than many, as I presume you speak Norwegian, so that opens a job market up to you, and to be honest transferring a licence between the UK and Norway is not difficult (although if you take the Norwegian licence, you will have to sit Masters Oral's in the UK to get the CeC!!).

        Can I suggest getting in touch with Knutsen OAS?? Their Head Office is in Haugesund, but if you were interested in taking the UK route they have a British based company in Aberdeen, and they certainly used to take Cadets on (I know they have one engine cadet right now). They may well be interested in taking you as a cadet, and if so you could apply to Clyde Marine with that in hand, so to speak. They hold a reasonable amount of respect for their training, although they don't take British cadets on currently after qualification. A norwegian speaking cadet might have a better chance though, as they do employ Norwegians due to the regs I mentioned previously. UK telephone number is 01224 618 420.


        • #5
          Thanks Brook! I will definitely check these options out!


          • #6
            Hi Robin, brook, firstly robin, i like you lol, you seem to know what your talking about and have done a lot of research. i'm not sure if i have read your post right but i was wondering how you would get any seatime during your cadetship without a sponsor?? if you put yourself in the position of the employer, why would i employ you despite having a degree over someone who has actually stepped foot on a ship and has some experience?? maybe i'm misunderstanding you but it seems like you would be taking a huge risk!

            i did the BSc route in the UK and am British. i'm not sure if it helped me get a job at end of my cadetship, i was told i had done well in my cadetship so i was getting offered a job but so did some of the lads who did the college route. what i will say though is a friend of mine (also called robin) got a job in a shipping office ashore with his degree and has just moved to london to be a 'Loss prevention executive', fancy aie? gets to wear a suit and noose instead of a boiler suit and a rag! and use hand moisturiser for his smooth baby like land loving hands! the prospects for you moving ashore are better but then in this industry its all about experience! when it comes to getting a job in this industry its more of being in the right place at the right time with a COC in your hand.

            as brook said, another point of concern for me would be getting a CEC (certificate of equivalency) with a Norwegian COC (cert of competence). ALTHOUGH!! how many UK flagged ships are there left?? so i'm not sure if it would really matter, Scandinavian companies are taking over especially in the offshore industry and there is no difference between the COC's in my opinion as we all follow the same STCW95 convention and pass the same tests!. secondly, there are A LOT!! more jobs available to you if you hold a 'Scandinavian' COC and can speak norwegian, as brook said they will only take people on in the norwegian sector in the north sea if you can speak the language which cuts down my job prospects dramatically (they still charter ships with UK crew when they need them though!!). this of course all depends if you want to work offshore.

            i hope i have helped here, i'm not too sure, i may have just been rambling on. as i say, my man concern would be getting experience onboard ships with a reputable company and the degree a nice bonus to fall back on if you ever need it. thats what i did and i have landed in on my feet, partly luck and partly through hard work. good luck Robin i hope you work something out =)


            • #7
              Hey Noworries. Thanks for the reply

              Yes, there is a certain risk involved with the Norwegian route, as the student has to secure trainee/cadet places on ships outside of college time to fulfill the ticket requirements. I just spoke to my estranged uncle however, who happens to be Managing Director of Rickmers, and he has basically said he can sort me out with all the months I may need to get my CoC

              He also mentioned another interesting thing about freight companies. He said there is a very strong trend toward south east asian and indian officers due to the wage difference, which is freezing out alot of wester european officers. He did however say that the cruise and off shore industries, as well as private and charter yachts are not affected by this due to the focus on skills rather than finding the cheapest crew.

              I must admit I am most interested in Cruise Ships. Mainly due to the fact (strong word, I beleive the following statement to be true though :P) that the officers are "required" to mingle with the passengers. I do like meeting new people and mingling, so that appeals to me more than just working freight and oil (That does sound sweet as well though )