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  • engineering

    Hi, doing this under anonymous just in case.

    Do engineer cadets require a certain affinity with practical work to be able to get through it?

    I have never done any practical work whatsoever. I have little initiative and never really had any real interest in engineering. I chose the cadetship because I always wanted to go to sea but at the same time I wanted something where there would be a lot of opportunities if I wanted to go back ashore. I think aside from that a part of me would have preferred to go deck but it's too late now, CMT would probably just throw me out if I asked.

    I did understand that it would probably be harder for me as opposed to someone who was genuinely interested in engineering but I had a brief workshop lesson and I was so lost. I think this is a stupid question but I'm just asking because I either want reassurance so I can calm down or just to know now instead of six months down the line if I made a huge mistake.

  • #2
    I done 14 months of a mechanics apprenticeship with Vauxhall............ I was terrible at practical stuff...... hence now I am a deck officer.... Take from that what you will


    • #3
      If its not for you ... its not for you. Simple


      • #4
        It obviously helps if you have a keen interest in engineering, your sea time may go a little slow otherwise! but I wouldn't say theirs much wrong with doing a cadetship for your said reason, obviously its a bit wrong as a lot of people want cadetships who may not be able to and you've taken their place but this is training, how do you know what you want to do in the future, this will open your eyes and allow you to decide what you wanna do. You may really enjoy it you never know, i'd say go for it, their aren't any penalties for quitting CMT are there? and people drop out for many reasons so it wont be any thing new, if you do decide its not for you in 6 months! Just may have to explain it to your next employee thats all.....


        • #5
          For what it's worth, I'd say it's a little like this:
          Many engineers have a general interest in "stuff"; the world around us. Do you find yourself looking at something and making a guess as to how it works. An interest in the processes that might have taken place to produce that thing? When you watch a magician are you amazed but also trying to figure out "how it was done"?
          This "affinity" is only one side of this game. I feel the other side to it can be learned, and whether you possess "it" or not, there's a huge amount to learn.
          There are several systems on board a ship that each work in one of a few different ways. There's probably 8 major topics: diesel engines; hydraulics; steam; refrigeration / air conditioning; pumps and valves; power generation and distribution; sewage; fresh water generation. (Electronics is possibly another, though I wish it weren't.) The cadet engineer kind of muddles through initially, applying some vaguely remembered stuff taught in a class-room, then slowly building on this knowledge to develop what may be considered by some to be "an understanding". An "affinity" may well give someone an edge, but in reality, these basics can be learned by anybody willing to put the time in, and in due course you find a huge sense of pride and accomplishment from making things work better / at all.
          From talking to cadet-colleagues through the phases, even the folks who were pretty nonchalant about being engineers in phase 1, now seem to be struck with a certain wonder at the scope of the world of work ahead of them. I think this is mostly due to the developing knowledge and seeing how the systems interact with each other, and how this affects your day, and thus your life.
          I struggled for a while in my decision between deck and engine, having spent a lot of time sailing yachts for fun for and money, and really enjoying yachtmaster navigation.
          As it happens, I chose the engineering route, partly for similar reasons as yourself, and partly because I had found that I get a real sense of satisfaction from fixing things with my hands. That and I f#@kin hate painting.
          The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.

          - Douglas Adams


          • #6
            I can sympathise with you - I'm due to start as a deck cadet soon but I have a nagging doubt that I should have chosen systems engineering. I'm worried that I have made the wrong decision and I'm stuck with it. I figured that if I had a flair for computers and electronics, I would have realised it by now (I'm 33) it's just that I'd quite like a trade.
            'Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans'


            • #7
              If you don't have an interest in engineering then working on a ship everyday for 4 months at a time isn't for you.


              • #8
                Are you simply worries that you found the first workshop lesson a little bewildering or do you really feel that engineering is not something that you can learn to be good at and enjoy?

                If it is the second then no-one here can give you an answer, you need to decide for yourself and fairly quickly before both you and your employers invest a lot of time and money in you training.

                If it is simply that you found the first lesson a little out of your comfort zone then hang in there, if it was easy the wages would be rubbish. The college is there to teach you and they will do, but it will take time to get your head round it. So long as you recognise that this is a possible area of weakness and put some extra effort in then you will be fine. If you want to improve your hands on engineering experience then you should consider joining a local railway preservation society or similar ho require volunteers to maintain the stuff they look after.

                Hang in there.
                Go out, do stuff


                • #9
                  I am currently studying to do my second engineers, and doing very well so far. I have been an engineer for 7 years.

                  When I first joined the Merchant Navy, I had almost not practical skill in it. I was a little slower at workshop then most people, as it was all new for me, but now 7 years on, due to being on a ship with less crew for one reason, and lots of opportunities to do fitting work, I have now got to a level where I am much better practically, as fabricating and welding and other skills then many of my colleagues. And I hope to continue to improve. So don't worry about it, as long as your willing to learn and take effort to take interest in it!

                  I would say, it is much easier starting with good acedemic skills and a bit of common sense, then learning the practical skills. Then having practical practice but no acedemics or common sense!


                  • #10
                    Give it a shot. You've convinced your company that you are interested enough.

                    Having said that, to warn you, if you 'have little initiative', you may find life at sea very, very difficult.


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