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  • Calmac Ferries

    Hello everyone! My name is Tommy Haddon. I started my engineering cadetship a few days ago with Clyde Marine Training at the NAFC college in Shetland. My sponsoring company is Calmac Ferries. However, I have been told they are linked with Northern Marine? Does anyone have any information in Calmac and does anyone know if I will actually do my sea phases on a Calmac ferry? I can’t find much information on Northern Marine either? If I was to be with them what would be the deal? Where would I be based, how long would my trips be? What would the living conditions be like?
    thanks everybody who has information! Nice to meet you all😁

  • #2
    Welcome!

    I think you’re the first I’ve heard of being sponsored by Cal Mac, but I’ve met many who were Northern Marine.

    If you’re the same as the NMM cadets then you’ll be doing your cadetship on Stena ferries and Stena oil tankers deep sea, perhaps with the Cal Mac bit you might be doing a few trips with them but I’ve no idea.

    If you are to sail with Cal Mac you’ll be on their biggest ferries as they’re the only ones with cabin/live aboard. If I’m right I believe they either have 2 or 4 ships like this, someone in the know can clarify. If you sail on them your trip lengths will likely be something like 10 days on 4 days off or 14 days on 6 days off, potentially 3 weeks on 1 week off but this is rarer nowadays for ferries. Some larger cruise ferries have cadets doing 10 weeks on 3 weeks off, but that probably got knocked on the head over crew welfare concerns… living conditions will be comfy with basic cabins and ensuite, wifi and a good officers mess. But ferry life is tiring/tedious so it’s very much an eat sleep work go home gig for experienced crew.

    If you’re going onto their oil tankers then expect 4 month trips all over the world, big cabins and varied crews.

    Regardless, NMM offer a very good cadetship for engineers and you’re likely to leave very employable and with a secured job at the end. IF you get to deal with Cal Mac I’d highly recommend putting your all in as they’re one of the best, if not the best, companies to work for. Think £50k+ for easy hours, going home to your house at night and having tonnes of time off to see the world at your leisure. Stena are also a great company to work for. If I’m right that you’ll go on Stena tankers then you’ll get all the dangerous cargo stuff which is great too.

    You’ve landed on your feet before you’ve even fallen with this cadetship, treat it like gold dust!

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    • #3
      In terms of rotations for ferries I've done 2 weeks on 1 week off on Cross Channel and 4 weeks on 1 week on on Irish Sea. Shift patterns on board are normally 12 on 12 off on short sea (more than 2 round trips a day) for officers but I have always done 10 on 14 off with Sundays off. I agree with aggibbs a ferry cadetship is really good as the officers will most likely be British or European and will want to teach you.
      Phase 5 - Deck Cadet - RO-PAX Ferries - Views are my own and not that of my employer

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      • #4
        I was a NMM/Calmac cadet in years gone by. I had actually applied for Calmac thinking - brilliant Calmac - but nope..

        Northern Marine are owned by the Stena Group, I had no idea pre-cadetship how big that company was, but one of these monsters you've never heard of. The do everything from construction to metal recycling in Sweden.

        A couple of years ago the bought over the Clyde Group, so now Clyde Marine Training and Clyde Training Solutions, are also part of the Stena Group.

        Calmac want to 'train' cadets but lack the berths onboard to do so properly. So Northern Marine get the cash from Calmac to provide berths. You'll probably do a trip or two away on a tanker deepsea and then fill up your missing seatime on the ferries. The crews on NMM managed tankers tend to be a mix of Eastern European, Indian, Filipino and the odd NW European. They tend to be fairly mixed outside a few of the fleets so you'll have a good chance of bumping into Junior Engineers who are happy to teach.

        The ships are good for the most part, good facilities, own cabin, gym, sauna on a few, even some pools. Food is about as hit or miss as expected for deepsea, but decent food budget per person.

        Honestly, I didn't enjoy the ferries as much when I was a cadet. For starters the accommodation is worse. Small cabin, maybe sharing, no real facilities onboard. If you get sent to the Irish Sea Stena ferries you will probably have a fairly decent time - although as I look at Linkedin etc it seems to be MEF/Trinity House cadets going there which is odd.. They reshuffle the fleet on the regular though...

        You've definitely landed one of the better sponsors so I wouldn't worry too much!

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        • #5
          I had a flatmate who was sponsored Calmac/ NMM and they spend all their seatime deep sea on the Stena Tankers. You are generally just a NMM cadet so chances are you could end up on the Stena Ferries as well.
          Although Calmac doesn't currently (as far as I'm aware) have cadets onboard due to cabin restrictions as they tend to be filled with their trainee ABs/Motorman or extra catering. The new ferries that they have ordered/will order shortly will have cabins for cadets so they may start having cadets onboard in 2022/2023 perhaps?
          They currently have 13/14 ships with liveaboard crew and they do 2 week rotations and for the rest of the fleet where they stay ashore it's 1 week on/off. Full time crew also get around 30 days annual leave
          ​​​​

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