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Obtaining cadetship as 30yo+ qualified engineer

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  • Obtaining cadetship as 30yo+ qualified engineer

    Hi all,

    Felt more comfortable posting this in the anonymous section, I'm a qualified mechanical engineer (four year degree Dipl.-Ing. or MEng depending on country) have experience in piping, steel construction and plant equipment working in heavy industry but no particular experience in marine industry or O&G, in my early 30's with a burning desire to be more active and to be getting my hands dirty at sea. Have been researching ship propulsion equipment and self teaching welding/machining to hopefully give myself further advantage.

    Looking to apply for a marine engineering cadetship on tankers or other offshore O&G vessels (semi-subs, AHTS etc) however I have three questions I would really like some answers to.

    1) My primary concern is age, would shipping companies take any look at me or could I be dismissed simply for my age?

    2) From my understanding a MEng is far more comprehensive in theory and maths but lacks the workshop training provided by the marine courses. How much of an advantage would my degree and experience be... and could it be enough leverage in an application to overcome the age issue?

    3) I have savings so a pay cut from current salary for cadet program is not a problem for me but would companies be hesitant to hire me based on a perceived high salary history?


  • #2
    Hi there, I am aware of several people who have started a cadetship over the age of 30 so I highly doubt this would put a company off. I think due to diversity reasons companies are more likely to take you on now than ever before too. You clearly have the academic requirements so I think if you show your interest in the application process there would be no reason why not. I think having any sort of degree, especially yours, will be an advantage when doing a cadetship.

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    • #3
      1) My primary concern is age, would shipping companies take any look at me or could I be dismissed simply for my age? There are many cadets older than 30, with several older than 40.

      2) From my understanding a MEng is far more comprehensive in theory and maths but lacks the workshop training provided by the marine courses. How much of an advantage would my degree and experience be... and could it be enough leverage in an application to overcome the age issue? You'll probably only attract companies that can "fast track" your college time, which means you only do workshop training + sea time + relevant plant based education rather than the full cadetship. The only company I know that does this is Carnival, but I'm sure more do.

      3) I have savings so a pay cut from current salary for cadet program is not a problem for me but would companies be hesitant to hire me based on a perceived high salary history? Many take a pay cut to be a cadet and join the career, I've seen everything from ex-submariner nuclear artificers to civil servant IT engineers coming through the system.

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      • #4
        Hi there,

        I'm in a similar position where I have just finished an apprenticeship with a major engineering firm in the petrochemical industry.

        I'm only 21 however, having years of experience in a working environment was looked highly upon when I went to do my interviews for a cadetship.

        They see you as a 'different' type of cadet as the majority of applicants are school leavers with little or no work experience.

        I haven't been to an interview yet where I haven't been offered the position, in some cases I was even offered it on the spot.

        I am still currently weighing up my options but I am looking at a significant pay-cut also. Just make your recruiter aware in the interview that you have already taken this factor into consideration.

        As for the degree, that can only go miles. Most applicants will have A levels at max, this only adds to your portfolio.

        Do your research on sponsors/types of ships/course structure/responsibilities that come with the position you're applying for and you'll be fine

        Best of luck!

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        • #5
          you can easily get a cadetship and a job however i'd just urge you to consider if this is really what you want. remember you will need to study for a year and a half or three with people a lot younger than you. not to say that mature candidates don't enter cadetships, but you'd have to be pretty lucky to get put in an intake with other mature students (and that you can also get on with). otherwise, most likely you will be witha . bunch of people who have just done a levels, have just finished a first degree, or have even only finished GCSEs.
          If you can get over the hurdle of being in a classroom with 18/19 year olds, being treated like a young inexperienced person, doing metal work/technician work for 8 hours a day, then go for it. if you have another option, then i'm sure your degree will stand you in good stead.

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          • #6

            Thank you all for your answers,it is greatly appreciated to hear some reassuring news, and thank you for the helpful tips Beware the bear

            I don't have an issue with younger classmates, there should also be plenty of sea time with older folk

            Originally posted by agibbs98 View Post
            2) From my understanding a MEng is far more comprehensive in theory and maths but lacks the workshop training provided by the marine courses. How much of an advantage would my degree and experience be... and could it be enough leverage in an application to overcome the age issue? You'll probably only attract companies that can "fast track" your college time, which means you only do workshop training + sea time + relevant plant based education rather than the full cadetship. The only company I know that does this is Carnival, but I'm sure more do.
            I am aware that fast tracking may not be possible with all companies, but would it still be possible to get the attention of LNG majors if they don't fast track?

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            • #7
              If you sign up to the forum you will get more responses as people will PM you and assist as it will go into another section rather than the "sensitive questions" section.

              As for what Beware says, I'm not aware of any companies seeing the likes of yourselves differently as the classes are a total mix of professionals and school leavers. When I was at college the average class age was probably 25 made up of over 30s and under 20s in nearly equal measure, there were only three school leavers. Nearly everyone had come from a previous working life. Most professionals, including Royal Navy engineers, had to be trained from scratch as their prior training wasn't of relevance to the curriculum required for engineers... The only fast trackers I knew were two pure mechanical engineering graduates with BEng level, and both were with Carnival Cruises, so you'd fall in that boat for sure.

              Bear in mind at the moment cadetships are very easy to get and there appears to be more acceptance than rejection, I presume this is down to more companies than ever taking advantage of the tonnage tax rules or less people are interested so more opportunities are going unfilled. Some companies are verging on desperate, advertising roles 7 days before college start dates as seen with CMT recently, as opposed to 13 month waiting lists 6/7 years ago.

              I believe the oil and gas companies do fast track cadetships as they have graduate entrance routes somewhere, sadly their websites are the worst and hard to navigate/get responses. Regardless, their entrance criteria is normally 2 A-levels or above, as they don't tend to do HND courses, only foundation degrees so most of their applicants are either sixth form leavers or graduates.

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