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  • Starting from the bottom!

    Hi,

    I am new to the forum but considering it is such a gold mine of information I thought I'd better sign up!
    I am extremely keen to go to sea in the deck department but I am 31 years old and and I do not have the necessary grades from school to get a place on a cadetship. Especially since competition is so fierce these days! Although I feel fully capable of achieving these qualifications now, I have found that the only way I can do so is to fork out a ridiculous amount of money!
    However I have heard that there is a "start from the bottom" option involving working as a deck rating for a certain number of years before returning to college to gain your Officer of the Watch certificate.
    I have found that South Tyneside College offer a course to become an efficient deckhand however it states that you need to already have 12 months approved sea service and a navigational watch ratings certificate beforehand.
    My question is, does anybody know how I could gain these considering I have no seafaring experience so far?
    I have this week applied to the RFA as a seaman grade 2 however I need a back up option. I am perfectly willing to do unpaid work for a while.
    (P.S apologies that this isn't technically a cadet related question I just wasn't sure where else it could go)

  • #2
    Generally course like this are organised by employers. That's really the only way in.
    I know Shetland nautical college (or at least they used too) run an access course for people wanting to do cadet ships that don't have the grades. Sorry I don't know much about it and it's shame it's a bit out the way.

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    • #3
      Google Foreland Shipping. I believe they still train deck ratings, although I know that they suspended sponsorship for the rating to officer conversion course.

      With the right experience companies may consider you for a cadetship without the necessary school qualifications, but if you can possibly gop back and do at least maths it would help a lot with the course. Have you tried contacting a few companies to see what the entry requirements would be for older cadets with more life / employment experience?
      Go out, do stuff

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      • #4
        Thanks for the help from both of you. I had a feeling that might be the case. I think I'll start writing a few letters off to companies and find out what their stance is on it. I'll give Foreland a go.

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        • #5
          South Tyneside also offer a course for people who do not have the correct qualifications, I think they also help people find sponsorship. The intake is in September so you may be a little late and they try to aim for a march finish so people can get a company and some seatime.... Dont forget even though you might not have the correct qualifications, life experience can sometimes be better, i think the main reason they have a "Minimum Grade" to get in is because a lot of the applicants will be apply from finishing school or college.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Bulman View Post
            South Tyneside also offer a course for people who do not have the correct qualifications, I think they also help people find sponsorship. The intake is in September so you may be a little late and they try to aim for a march finish so people can get a company and some seatime.... Dont forget even though you might not have the correct qualifications, life experience can sometimes be better, i think the main reason they have a "Minimum Grade" to get in is because a lot of the applicants will be apply from finishing school or college.

            Is this what they call a 'pre-cadetship'? Heard somebody a couple of months ago talking about having been to an interview and other attendees were apparently on a pre-cadetship at STC.

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            • #7
              I heard DFDS were still training ratings under an apprenticeship scheme (was mentioned in the union paper 'Telegraph' from Nautilus not so long ago), I'm not sure if there was any kind of age restriction on this though?

              Thought I'd mention it...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by laura View Post
                (was mentioned in the union paper 'Telegraph' from Nautilus not so long ago)
                Probably lies, everything else in there is!
                Go out, do stuff

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                • #9
                  In addition to what laura posted, there is an article in this month's Telegraph highlighting a new rating apprenticeship scheme to be offered by Red Ensign Maritime Training. It's aimed at 16-23 year olds, as I would imagine the DFDS scheme is, as that's where government funding is available to cover the training costs. That's not to say that older apprentices may not be accepted, but you'll have to foot a significant part of the bill.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Clanky View Post
                    Probably lies, everything else in there is!
                    That's pretty depressing, it's my only contact with the 'British Merchant Navy', even my handover's always been written in a foreign language.... sigh...

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                    • #11
                      What is the working language of the ships you sail on?
                      Go out, do stuff

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                      • #12
                        Does it matter? My company fairly recently made English it's working language on all vessels in the fleet but people will not use English when speaking/ communicating to a person of the same nationality and it's not a British company. The emphasis on English also seems to have come at a time with a lot of flagging out and the employment of cheaper crews outside of Europe. Go figure. Anyway it's just been that way since I started as a mate- I get a foreign handover, so I write in the same language back.

                        It doesn't matter for me or my back to back though, we can do both... I'm probably better with many nautical terms in my other language as I consider it a working language in a practical sense. Officially only the Captain/ Chief Mate/ Chief Engineer/ Chief Steward are required to take a handover anyway, ironically they have been told by the office they have to start using English, despite our flag and the fact they are all the same nationality.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by laura View Post
                          Does it matter? My company fairly recently made English it's working language on all vessels in the fleet but people will not use English when speaking/ communicating to a person of the same nationality and it's not a British company. The emphasis on English also seems to have come at a time with a lot of flagging out and the employment of cheaper crews outside of Europe. Go figure. Anyway it's just been that way since I started as a mate- I get a foreign handover, so I write in the same language back.

                          It doesn't matter for me or my back to back though, we can do both... I'm probably better with many nautical terms in my other language as I consider it a working language in a practical sense. Officially only the Captain/ Chief Mate/ Chief Engineer/ Chief Steward are required to take a handover anyway, ironically they have been told by the office they have to start using English, despite our flag and the fact they are all the same nationality.
                          What language is your SMS in?
                          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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                          • #14
                            Three languages.... one of those is English. As I said the emphasis is slowly going over to English. But when I started as a cadet on my first vessel none of the checklists or non computer copies of the SMS were in English... tonnage tax cadet (in the process of flagging over to the Isle of Man when I joined). Ironically since I left my last ship which was British flagged and I was the only Brit onboard, the official language was English but on the bridge nobody in the marine crew used it, but now on my non British flagged ship we use more English. It's a little bit stupid that two Captains of the same nationality are required to write a handover in a language foreign to them.

                            It has been documented that if you have two languages onboard people only speak to each other when forced to, i.e an us or them situation is created which further creates a gulf when one of those nationalities is the 'senior ranks'. A completely different situation is created onboard ships where there are three or more nationalities/ languages and people generally use a common language because they are forced to, it really depends on the cultures involved though.

                            In this circumstance I am the 'foreigner' onboard and have been since a cadet. I got over that long ago. As the only 'native' English speaker onboard the majority of my vessels I was told to 'nut up and get on with it' by classmates, the training officer and shipmates, so I did. We mix and match languages as we need to. It's not a problem. You think we should be using English? I don't. We're not a British flagged ship and it's not a British company. I do feel sorry for our few tonnage tax cadets in the company though.

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                            • #15
                              Ive just read the August edition of the telegraph and there are quite a few good articles. For example theres a good critique of the cadet selection system.
                              Former TH cadet with experience of cruise ships, buoy tenders, research ships and oil tankers

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