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  • Merchant navy propaganda and misinformation

    Having qualified in the last few months, I'm still looking for a job. At the very start of my cadetship, and during my application process, all I could hear about was how there is "a massive shortage of officers" and "you'll never be out of work". Also the common one about starting salaries being quite high. For the guys that did find jobs, they find themselves on around 1600 pounds a month and not being paid on leave. This isn't much of a problem for the guys with companies that employ their cadets after training.

    I have sent my CV now to hundreds of companies followed up by phone calls. I'm registered with a number of agencies too. But still not hearing back.

    It seems to me that most companies are just interested in the tax break and put out this misinformation about a shortage of officers. But how can there be when India and the Philippines train thousands each year?

    Have I just waited three years of my life getting a qualification I can't use elsewhere?
    What is this all about?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Unregistered View Post
    Having qualified in the last few months, I'm still looking for a job. At the very start of my cadetship, and during my application process, all I could hear about was how there is "a massive shortage of officers" and "you'll never be out of work". Also the common one about starting salaries being quite high. For the guys that did find jobs, they find themselves on around 1600 pounds a month and not being paid on leave. This isn't much of a problem for the guys with companies that employ their cadets after training.

    I have sent my CV now to hundreds of companies followed up by phone calls. I'm registered with a number of agencies too. But still not hearing back.

    It seems to me that most companies are just interested in the tax break and put out this misinformation about a shortage of officers. But how can there be when India and the Philippines train thousands each year?

    Have I just waited three years of my life getting a qualification I can't use elsewhere?
    What is this all about?
    I am in the same situation buddy qualified 3months ago ! Really thought there would gave been more jobs ! I do think it's the time of year ! Think in summer there is more jobs so easier to get your foot in the door !

    Comment


    • #3
      There have been a few other members on here who have struggled to get work after qualifying, unfortunately it is particularly difficult to get that first stamp in your book, the good news is that everyone I know who has struggled to get work did get there eventually.

      Call the agencies every week, make sure you are registered with them all, Clyde Marine, Seamariner, Fast Stream and any others who you can find, contact nautilus if you are a member and make sure that you are paying the unemployed rate and getting the Telegraph delivered and then apply to everything that you can see in there.

      Check out the officercadet guide to writing a cv as well.
      Go out, do stuff

      Comment


      • #4
        As someone who was also trained by a tonnage tax company and left out of work on completion of the cadetship I can see where you are coming from but there are definately jobs out there. Most of the people from my intake (including myself) found jobs fairly quickly and although I'm not in the habit of going round asking people how much they are earning I get the impression everyone I know is getting paid ?25k+ including being paid whilst on leave. Thats a combination of offshore, cruise, tankers and wind farm boats. Maybe we have just been lucky. Can't really offer any advice other than to keep trying. I applied to loads of companies and the vast majority of them didn't even bother to reply to me or rejected me but then bizarrely I ended up getting about 4 offers in a week.

        I do think that there should be some sort of requirement for companies training British cadets to employ them on completion of the cadetship but suspect that might just end up with them not bothering with the system and flagging out. I guess it depends on how it would stack up financially.

        Comment


        • #5
          It would be good if there maybe was some sort of further tax incentive for retaining British Cadets, maybe the full tax benefit for the training period can only be realised after employment for two years or something. As you say though, it is just to easy for companies to flag out and not have to bother. A difficult one.
          All views are my own and not that of my employer/training company.

          Comment


          • #6
            While I agree with a lot of the points raised, for any prospective eto cadets reading this there are lots of junior eto jobs going with salaries ranging from 22 to 33k a year, not the same promotion opportunities as deck or engine though.
            Former TH cadet with experience of cruise ships, buoy tenders, research ships and oil tankers

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Unregistered View Post
              But how can there be when India and the Philippines train thousands each year?
              It's not like they just walk into jobs at the end of their training too you know. There are, well, sh*tloads of them trying to find cadet berths and first jobs as well...

              Do what the others have said. Sign up to all the agencies, check your CV against our article, even drop Hatchorder a PM (bear in mind that he is a very busy chap) and just keep trying....
              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.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by GuinnessMan View Post
                It's not like they just walk into jobs at the end of their training too you know. There are, well, sh*tloads of them trying to find cadet berths and first jobs as well...

                Do what the others have said. Sign up to all the agencies, check your CV against our article, even drop Hatchorder a PM (bear in mind that he is a very busy chap) and just keep trying....
                No, other nationalities may not just walk into jobs either, but if the company can pay someone less then the the competition wins. You could then talk about quality of training which is again another factor. I see that the Scandinavians I work with are really struggling to get their cadets onboard ships. A mass flagging out in the offshore sector this year is probably the main reason for this.

                It's basically a race to the bottom. Instead of a company investing in a young person as an OS or trainee rating and letting them work their way up the system, they instead get a cadet who is done and dusted with a lot of papers but not so much experience in three/ four years with only the minimum sea time, the quality of which in some cases can be rather questionable. STCW and so called equal certificates may have raised the bar in some countries but you could also argue lowered the bar in others.

                In offshore at the moment we're seeing what happened to the deep sea fleet 30years ago... the shipping company says ah we'll only replace the ABs, then we'll only replace the Bosun and the Stewards, ah it's only the 3rd mates... so that in the end only your senior officers are from the UK/ Europe... thing is who's your next Chief Engineer/ Captain when the UK ones start to retire, because you've killed off their next in line for cheaper labour. Training is shorter to try and match that of other countries, no investment in junior/ training positions and so it continues.

                I'm in two minds about the tonnage tax, on one hand it at least allows cadets to get to sea but on the other hand the quality of many cadets training as well as the condensing of practical experience and lack of future prospects is ropey to say the least. Then when our trainees aren't any better than the cheaper labour companies we send them to serve their sea time with, why not just employ the cheaper option.

                Ach I really shouldn't get involved in this debate again. But I find it rather sad to see what is happening to what really should be a top maritime nation, slowly letting it all slide away to save a bit of money- no longer is a trade a definite guarantee of a job and I definitely think a lot of cadets don't realise what tonnage tax actually means until almost too late. Of course there are positive outcomes from the tonnage tax as well but it is such a lottery.


                I really do hope you get something soon and manage to keep your hopes up. I can't offer any better advice on getting work but hope you're trying everything and anything. Friends from college I know who struggled to get work were on manning agency lists and started off that way, also constant phoning seems to help. Good luck though.

                Comment


                • #9
                  There is a high demand for Engineering Officers, not deck officers.
                  "My Job"

                  It's not my place to run the boat
                  the fog horn I can't blow.

                  It's not my place to say just where
                  the boat's allowed to go

                  It's not my right to dock the boat
                  or even clang the bell

                  But let the damn thing
                  start to sink AND SEE WHO CATCHES HELL!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by laura View Post
                    No, other nationalities may not just walk into jobs either, but if the company can pay someone less then the the competition wins. You could then talk about quality of training which is again another factor. I see that the Scandinavians I work with are really struggling to get their cadets onboard ships. A mass flagging out in the offshore sector this year is probably the main reason for this.

                    There are companies that do this and generally you find that there ships are mostly sitting around detained. These days, the whole industry revolves around "efficiency" and that doesn't just mean cutting costs, it means getting the best value for their money. If they wanted, a company could go to the far east, hire a load of folks with dubious certificates, the most minimal of P&I Cover, no H&M Cover (not a legal requirement) and be with a non IACS RO. Whilst that is the cheapest option, is it a particularly smart one? Not really, and most places do realize this and act accordingly. In the Ship Management world, some clients do dictate where they want their crew from and that has to be followed, but if they don't then it is generally down to the Ship Manager (wages come from Owner, not Ship Manager) and they will generally go with wherever they're crewing offices are.

                    It's basically a race to the bottom. Instead of a company investing in a young person as an OS or trainee rating and letting them work their way up the system, they instead get a cadet who is done and dusted with a lot of papers but not so much experience in three/ four years with only the minimum sea time, the quality of which in some cases can be rather questionable. STCW and so called equal certificates may have raised the bar in some countries but you could also argue lowered the bar in others.

                    My personal opinion, but I don't agree with the whole "start as an OS and work your way up" way of doing things. Whilst it works with some, it doesn't work with a lot of others. The problem I found (and bear in mind, this is just from my own experiences, others will be different), the junior engineer officers, who had been oilers, tended not to get beyond the mentality of being an oiler. The ship in question had an issue that none of the alarms for the purifiers would sound in the ECR. Now, if I was in that position, I would investigate and try to rectify the fault and would consult manual/other engineers, this lad didn't. All he did was tell an already busy 2nd Engineer (who was busy with his maintenance issues) and then wander off to his bunk. We also see stuff like this in some of the junior, but older officers. For example, one 50 odd year old 3rd mate who'd worked up from OS, didn't have a clue about how any of his safety equipment that he was supposed to maintain worked, all he did was, again, tell an already busy Chief Officer that he needed service engineers! Whilst those are just two examples, there are a lot more and I know folks would say "well you just train them" or "invest in them" but if you've done this for multiple people at massive cost and it still isn't working, you have to ask "are we running a business or a charity?". Don't get me wrong, if someone has the aptitude and the drive to progress, invest away and push them to progress, but if your investing and pushing and they're going no-where, well....

                    In offshore at the moment we're seeing what happened to the deep sea fleet 30 years ago... the shipping company says ah we'll only replace the ABs, then we'll only replace the Bosun and the Stewards, ah it's only the 3rd mates... so that in the end only your senior officers are from the UK/ Europe... thing is who's your next Chief Engineer/ Captain when the UK ones start to retire, because you've killed off their next in line for cheaper labour. Training is shorter to try and match that of other countries, no investment in junior/ training positions and so it continues.

                    I like Maersk's way of doing things. Complete multi-national recruitment. Couldn't care less where you're from, these are the wages on offer, this is the type of person we want. I abhor racism in all forms and so I quite like that sort of recruitment practice (any jobs going by the way?)

                    I'm in two minds about the tonnage tax, on one hand it at least allows cadets to get to sea but on the other hand the quality of many cadets training as well as the condensing of practical experience and lack of future prospects is ropey to say the least. Then when our trainees aren't any better than the cheaper labour companies we send them to serve their sea time with, why not just employ the cheaper option.

                    At least the TT system our cadets get everything they need to get their sea time and tickets and then start hunting for a job. That doesn't always happen in other countries. I've lost count of how many posts, CV's and letters that I've seen from cadets around the world asking for a berth on a ship. Most of them have to do four year degree's before getting their sea time in, would you want to have that level of debt hanging over your head whilst trying to find sea time (which is generally paid a lot less than what our cadets get - $300-$400 a month!).

                    Ach I really shouldn't get involved in this debate again. But I find it rather sad to see what is happening to what really should be a top maritime nation, slowly letting it all slide away to save a bit of money- no longer is a trade a definite guarantee of a job and I definitely think a lot of cadets don't realise what tonnage tax actually means until almost too late. Of course there are positive outcomes from the tonnage tax as well but it is such a lottery.

                    see comment above about TT. It's not always a bad thing to have to be honest.
                    The bold is mine. Just to make it a bit easier for me to comment, not having a go or anything....

                    Originally posted by jcwilson91 View Post
                    There is a high demand for Engineering Officers, not deck officers.
                    Oh dear.... *prepares for incoming*
                    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.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I've worked with junior older officers and found them a bit of a minefield, just as bad was officers who've stepped down two ranks to come into this section of the industry and are 'too important' to do anything so demeaning as chart corrections or count lifejackets. I also work with some nationalities where the lack of responsibility seems to be a default position, with some terrifying results at times at times and a lot of screw ups.

                      But I'm not referring to guys who've became mates after thirty years onboard but look at the ABs/ Bosun on my own ship who are absolutely fantastic and are still early enough in their career for it to be a positive progression, but okay it's not for everyone. Thing is, where are the european ABs going to work in ten years time if they don't get up the ladder? Then again good and bad cadets, some of them struggle with the most basic aspects of seamanship- but can trot out a calculation or are great with the ship's stability computer- surely both those elements are of equal importance?

                      I don't do racism either, I treat people at face value or try to. International crewing is fine, I've worked with good guys from around the world, none of my crew are from the UK and I love sailing with them... but I mean how about we replace all the secreatries/ cleaners in your office with GMan literally overnight with people from another country? Then those in junior positions Or maybe it's like that already, I don't know? Is that okay- you're replacement will be great at their jobs so it doesn't matter if those others working there already lose theirs. And yes I know shipping is international and it's not in the UK, it's at sea so it doesn't matter. I was aware of that from the moment I joined my first ship... but surely local jobs for your neighbours? British flagged ships with maybe some British crew onboard? I don't think this is a bad thing, it's not about racism, it's about maybe the kids in the future having some sort of decent employment. I like to support local businesses and buy local produce, I'd quite like to see crews from the UK onboard our ships. The international environment works well for a lot of nationalities but we are losing out quite badly.

                      $300-400 a month, that's not great but it is relative, that's a decent wage in some countries... but okay not all, but wait is it a charity for cheaper maritime labour countries too? You speak about P&I, yes companies still want their senior officers with a high standard of training and don't just go for the bottom of the shelf... thing is it's junior officers who step into those positions.. and now there's a gap between low cost and well qualified.

                      I don't we'll ever take the same viewpoint on this gman, screw it let's discuss it over a pint.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've been emailing companies every day, phoning them etc. I won't mention the company, or the persons name, but at one of the cadet agencies they told me they had no idea who was willing to take on junior officers these days. If they don't know, then am I screwed?


                        Let the truth come out to any new cadets or potential applicants, jobs aren't as easy to get as they made them out to be.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          p.s That was the same agency that trained me. So it seems as though as long as they get their money, they can sell you this career about being in high demand etc, but what they don't tell you is that you will struggle to find work afterwards. So we've been pretty much used as cheap labour on board, all for the promise of a decent career.

                          Why aren't there agencies out there who want newly qualified officers? If every company wants experience, then is the training fit for purpose?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Just heard a rumour that the Big Blue Canoe Company might be looking for newly qualified people, have you tried them?
                            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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Chiefy View Post
                              Just heard a rumour that the Big Blue Canoe Company might be looking for newly qualified people, have you tried them?
                              Just did there application form and quickly received an email about no vacancies at the moment.

                              Comment

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