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  • Newly qualified OOW looking for work

    I'm sorry for posting something that has been discussed a lot but I'm having a lot of concerns.
    Basically I'm preparing for my orals having completed my cadetship on bulk carriers, but I seem to be reading a lot about people struggling to find work especially when every job I look at applying for asks specifcally for 'EXPERIENCED OFFICERS'.

    I'm just wondering if there are any relatively newly qualified officers out there who have managed to find work without previous experience as an officer, and if so was it with your original training company, same types of ships, etc? Any information would be great to help put my mind at ease as I'm beginning to panic that I may end up facing a long time of unemployment on completion of my traning. I'm currently a deck cadet on bulkers but would like ideally to go into AHTS, but also want to travel the world and try container ships, passengers and bulkers as an officer.

    Any thoughts or wisdom?

    Greatly appreciated

  • #2
    This is concerning me too, even though my orals are not until next year.

    Most job requirements request a certain amount of time as a 3rd officer - 6 months seems to be the most frequent.

    Would it be possible to request a position as a 'junior officer'? I understand that this may not be what they are looking for, but I would happily accept the salary of a cadet for a while in order to reach the experience level required.
    "Knowledge is gained through experience and experience is just another name for our mistakes" - Albert Einstein/Oscar Wilde
    "Choose a career that you really enjoy and you will never have to work a single day in life."

    Experience with Container, General Cargo and Cruise vessels.

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    • #3
      Quite a few companies now seem to take on what they are styling "4th Officers/Engineers", which is essentially a junior engineer. I was taken on by Chevron in this rank, and I understand quite a few of the oil companies are starting to do likewise, so it would seem a reasonable assumption to suspect most other shipping companies will have something similar.

      The big issue is that these positions are not advertised particularly. For example, I found the Chevron position by applying to an advert for 3/E, and they came back and said they were taking on juniors as well, but if I hadn't tried applying I would never have found out!!

      A junior officer is often on a lower wage, though I was much better of than cadet wages (I took a 40% increase in salary when I was promoted to 3/E, and I happen to know that the Stena salary system is fairly similar, to give you an indication). It was explained to me that it gave a 6 month or so probationary period, where you could assess the company, and more importantly they could assess you and decide if they want you permanently, at which point they would offer the promotion to 3/E.

      Anyway, for finding jobs just get in touch with the agencies etc (there is a guy on here who has a website: http://www.zenithocean.com/2012/06/ which has a good list to start you off) and explain to them what you are wanting, I found the agencies often had a better clue as to what was going on, whilst simply doing the online apps you missed out on that side.

      HTH,

      Phil

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      • #4
        would some time on one of the charity hospital ships once qualified count as experience?
        Former TH cadet with experience of cruise ships, buoy tenders, research ships and oil tankers

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        • #5
          They spend a hell of a lot of time alongside, bit useless for deckies.
          sigpic
          Hello! I'm Chris. I'm away a lot so I'm sorry if it takes me a while to reply to messages, but I promise I'll get back to everyone. If it's urgent, please email me directly at [email protected].

          Need books, Flip Cards or chartwork instruments? Visit SailorShop.co.uk!

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          • #6
            they must be some 'driving' from place to place too.
            Former TH cadet with experience of cruise ships, buoy tenders, research ships and oil tankers

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            • #7
              Twice a year

              https://www.mercyships.org/volunteer/the-ship-schedule/
              sigpic
              Hello! I'm Chris. I'm away a lot so I'm sorry if it takes me a while to reply to messages, but I promise I'll get back to everyone. If it's urgent, please email me directly at [email protected].

              Need books, Flip Cards or chartwork instruments? Visit SailorShop.co.uk!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by chris View Post
                they must be some 'driving' from place to place too.
                If you're thinking about Mercy Ships, then not really. They spend an awesome amount of time alongside.

                I did actually apply to go and volunteer for them at one point (and still would tomorrow if I won the lottery), but if you do want to go to them then normally you have to pay all your own costs whilst there.
                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.

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                • #9
                  I hate the Idea of junior officers. It's seems like a downright admission that the current training system isn't fit for purpose. It's also an excuse for those aboard not to take cadets training seriously as can worry about it when their sailing as a junior officer.

                  Although hospital ships might not work what about volunteering on sail training ships or the many 'heritage' (for lack of a better word) ships. I am mean ones being restored and operated by committees dedicated to their preservation.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lewis View Post
                    I hate the Idea of junior officers.
                    What would you prefer to be called? Folks are usually junior officers until they hit Chief (or 2nd in the Eng world)
                    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.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by GuinnessMan View Post
                      What would you prefer to be called? Folks are usually junior officers until they hit Chief (or 2nd in the Eng world)
                      Its not junior officers in the sense of not senior officers, its the junior 3rd mate positions where they are basically saying that your cadetship didn't really train you to do the job it was supposed to.

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                      • #12
                        I can see your point, mr gadget, however I am not so certain it is as bad as you paint it.

                        Granted, coming through the British system you have a good chance of being fairly well trained, and certainly from having discussed this with various guys on my last ship (mixture of Indian/Filipino/Italian/Croatian/Polish/Romanian) the British system seems to be quite thorough.

                        However, I have sailed with guys who you simply sit and wonder how they ever managed to get a licence, and for a new company hiring officers they do want to have a trail period without the risk of causing catastrophic damage. The Junior position fits this nicely, as they are (or certainly Chevron do this) treat you like an officer, but you do not need to take full responsibility from the off, whereas as a 3rd on most ships will be needed to step straight into the job. I can understand, certainly in the Oil industry, why companies do this. All going well, assuming you are good enough you will likely be promoted onboard during your contract (I certainly was, as was the 4th Officer who was sailing with me), or maybe complete one assignment. If you are not good enough, you are not put in a position to cause any damage, and can also be trained a lot easier.

                        Each to their own though, that's just my view on it. Certainly helped me as well, as I had a bit of a gap between my last trip as cadet and my first contract, and it gave me some breathing space in which to learn a whole whack of new equipment and bring myself back up to speed.

                        Cheers,

                        Phil

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                        • #13
                          Just going to swing the lantern for a wee second.

                          IMO 12 months sea time is not enough for you to gain experience and be ready for you to hold your own watch either on the bridge or in the CCR. I appreciate its not my decision and I do not set the standards however I believe the MCA is playing fast and loose with sea time requirements. When I went for my OOW orals I had 22 months sea time (the requirement was 18 months), joining my first ship as 3/O I was nervous but felt ready. If I think back to my time as cadet when I had 12 months sea time I was on my third trip at sea, I had a an excellent cadetship but in no way would I have had enough experience to be 3/O.

                          The reduction in sea time goes hand in hand with a reduction in responsibility until enough experience has been gained.

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                          • #14
                            Quality of watchkeeping time is more important than quantity. If you spend the bulk of your watches as a cadet on ocean passages, rarely seeing a ship and entering harbour once a month, your ability and confidence in applying RoR will be quite different to someone who has been on coastal passages with frequent port visits. Likewise with the highly variable quality of training onboard. The seatime requirements could be extended infinitely without guaranteeing adequate training or experience.

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                            • #15
                              Look at it this way, you could either spend more time as a cadet, on cadets wages, or you can do a shorter cadetship and then spend time as a 4th officer / 4th engineer being paid the salary of a qualified officer, but still learning.

                              It used to be standard for newly qualified officers to start as junior engineers or 4th mates even after a 4 year cadetship. Look at it as a positive thing.
                              Go out, do stuff

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