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Ahoy from NI

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  • Ahoy from NI

    Hello folks, just thought I’d introduce myself here. I’m an aspiring deck cadet officer from NI. Currently 19 and have previously applied for the RFA. After not making it through the SIFT I have decided that I still want to pursue a career in the merchant navy!

    I’ve done some research on courses/cadetships etc and have been lurking this forum as well as navynet for a while. Clyde Maritime recently turned me down as well due to course numbers so I’m really figuring out my next move from here. I’ve seen a lot of negatives on these forums and few positives but I’m hoping to see more positives when things start to pick up again, I have to say, I was surprised to see there was such a struggle for maritime jobs, especially during the pandemic but it makes sense to me now.

    If anyone has any advice on what to do next after being turned down from academies etc it is more than welcome.

    Cheers!

  • #2
    Some places do an 'access to the merchant navy' course, doing that could be one way of getting in.

    The job market is really bad for people doing deck, you would probably have a better chance of work if you did the engineering or eto cadetships, the job market is said to be better for them.

    Comment


    • #3
      I echo the above sentiment. Deck jobs have been scarce for a while (at least since pre 2015), covid has only exacerbated things.

      If you do comprehensive research on the British Deck Officer job market you’ll see there is not much about.

      Example in point:
      https://www.clyderecruit.com/jobs/rank/deck-officer/

      Two jobs for British 2nd Officers at the moment. One requires a Chief Mates license (rare to see even this come up) and the other is temporary for summer at the moment. Take into account the number of currently unemployed newly qualified Officers, and experienced unemployed Officers and the ratio of jobs to Officers is ludicrous.

      Engineering or ETO may be better, or consider a more stable vocation to avoid 3 years of a useless deck cadetship.

      Comment


      • #4
        Are you excluded from joining the RFA because of an issue? Are you only allowed to apply once? If not I’d say try again with them! They do one of the best cadetships and can be a great way to get into the industry, gain experience and then have a much wider choice of jobs.

        I’d echo the sentiments above and really consider if you want to work at sea or you want to be a deck officer. If you want to work at sea you’ll likely find far more opportunity (on sea and land) and potentially more money as a result by becoming an engineer or an ETO. Deck officers have it much harder than us engineers at the moment, especially during COVID where engineers have become a commodity on land. I wanted to be a decky but ended up doing engineering despite not knowing anything about engineering or having never tinkered with cars or anything; I have no regrets now it’s 10 years later. I soon learnt to be a good engineer and reaped the rewards seafaring and engineering gave, I could still spend time on the bridge and had plenty of time on deck enjoying myself. I ended up interested in engineering and am now an engineer on land with a fair choice of jobs nationally thanks to my college training and marine engineering experience. ETOs have it even better than me, with land based careers realistically paying £55k+ for low level positions.

        If you want to be a deck officer then you should try and prioritise finding a cadetship sponsor that will hire you, as that’s the biggest hurdle any seafarer faces - the first contract and getting qualified experience. The best sponsors in that regard are the RFA, Carnival UK, Pritchard Gordon, James Fisher, SSTG - P&O Ferries and several more documented on the forums before.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by DougR View Post
          Some places do an 'access to the merchant navy' course, doing that could be one way of getting in.

          The job market is really bad for people doing deck, you would probably have a better chance of work if you did the engineering or eto cadetships, the job market is said to be better for them.
          I have noticed a few threads saying that the job market is better for them, it would just be what sort of reflects my personal interests better. Whilst I can sort of see myself doing engineering, it wouldn’t be my preferred choice.

          Going to have a look at some ‘access to the merchant navy courses’ now too. Thanks for that!

          Comment


          • #6
            I done an "access to merchant navy course" on my way into the industry. It was pretty much synonymous with a pre-cadetship. I'd only recommend doing it if you were specifically told that your grades were not good enough or you need it to get in. Otherwise I'd definitely apply again elsewhere, or wait till January intakes, or do something else entirely.

            Reason being that I started my pre-cadetship in summer of 2017, which took a year to complete. And due to COVID etc, I won't be finished everything until at least January of 2022. That's a very long time to be out of the job market from starting at 27. I'll be 32 by the time I finish, and I might be in a worse place than started off. You are 19, so it may not be as big a deal, but in that case, I'd also echo above sentiments and just go for the engineering cadetship.

            I really enjoy the deck side, but the peace of mind that engineers/eto's get when they finish, knowing that they could easily transfer to a whole range of jobs on land if they can't find one at sea, I'd trade for now tbh. You could learn to enjoy the engineering side too.

            Best of luck

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Wiggles View Post

              Engineering or ETO may be better, or consider a more stable vocation to avoid 3 years of a useless deck cadetship.
              Thanks for the reply. That is a very good example of just how scarce deck jobs are. You mentioned considering a more stable vocation, this may be an ignorant question but what exactly do you mean by that? Consider going down the engineering/ETO path or just consider another industry entirely?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by agibbs98 View Post
                Are you excluded from joining the RFA because of an issue? Are you only allowed to apply once? If not I’d say try again with them! They do one of the best cadetships and can be a great way to get into the industry, gain experience and then have a much wider choice of jobs.

                I’d echo the sentiments above and really consider if you want to work at sea or you want to be a deck officer. If you want to work at sea you’ll likely find far more opportunity (on sea and land) and potentially more money as a result by becoming an engineer or an ETO. Deck officers have it much harder than us engineers at the moment, especially during COVID where engineers have become a commodity on land. I wanted to be a decky but ended up doing engineering despite not knowing anything about engineering or having never tinkered with cars or anything; I have no regrets now it’s 10 years later. I soon learnt to be a good engineer and reaped the rewards seafaring and engineering gave, I could still spend time on the bridge and had plenty of time on deck enjoying myself. I ended up interested in engineering and am now an engineer on land with a fair choice of jobs nationally thanks to my college training and marine engineering experience. ETOs have it even better than me, with land based careers realistically paying £55k+ for low level positions.

                If you want to be a deck officer then you should try and prioritise finding a cadetship sponsor that will hire you, as that’s the biggest hurdle any seafarer faces - the first contract and getting qualified experience. The best sponsors in that regard are the RFA, Carnival UK, Pritchard Gordon, James Fisher, SSTG - P&O Ferries and several more documented on the forums before.
                In the message board it simply states that I have not been selected to progress to the SIFT and it could be due to the unprecedented number of applications. I'm able to apply again in November of this year and I had a lot of interest in doing it with the RFA specifically.

                I do want to work at sea and could see myself working as a deck officer, however, I would be open to maybe trying engineering as I am currently studying a kind of related foundation degree (Digital Construction).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by riker View Post
                  I done an "access to merchant navy course" on my way into the industry. It was pretty much synonymous with a pre-cadetship. I'd only recommend doing it if you were specifically told that your grades were not good enough or you need it to get in. Otherwise I'd definitely apply again elsewhere, or wait till January intakes, or do something else entirely.

                  Reason being that I started my pre-cadetship in summer of 2017. And I'm still not finished, and due to COVID etc, I won't be until at least January of 2021. That's a very long time to be out of the job market from starting at 27. I'll be 32 by the time I finish, and I might be in a worse place than started off. You are 19, so it may not be as big a deal, but in that case, I'd also echo above sentiments and just go for the engineering cadetship.

                  I really enjoy the deck side, but the peace of mind that engineers/eto's get when they finish, knowing that they could easily transfer to a whole range of jobs on land if they can't find one at sea, I'd trade for now tbh. You could learn to enjoy the engineering side too.

                  Best of luck
                  Sorry to hear you aren't having the best time with your course. For me personally, I think I may have to give engineering a go as I don't fancy waiting a few years to see whether or not the job market for deck officers improves. I appreciate the info and reply!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by OD999 View Post

                    Thanks for the reply. That is a very good example of just how scarce deck jobs are. You mentioned considering a more stable vocation, this may be an ignorant question but what exactly do you mean by that? Consider going down the engineering/ETO path or just consider another industry entirely?
                    Honestly mate at this point in time I’d look at other careers. Unless you really really really want to work at sea. It will be a uphill slog and as mentioned before engineering or eto is probably your best bet.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Wiggles View Post

                      Honestly mate at this point in time I’d look at other careers. Unless you really really really want to work at sea. It will be a uphill slog and as mentioned before engineering or eto is probably your best bet.
                      I would say I really want to work at sea, not any type of ship in particular though. Containers, bulk, ferries & cruises... Doesn’t bother me which I just really know I want to work at sea.

                      Thanks for the advice and info, I appreciate it all mate.

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