Advice for female Engineering Cadet please!

27th May 2009, 15:40

Can anyone offer constructive advice to a family friend who is currently undertaking an Engineering Cadetship?
The young lady has just finished Phase III of her course and will shortly return to sea before completing her HND in the early part of 2010.
Apparently it is becoming increasingly more and more difficult for newly qualified engineers to find employment and most companies are insisting that prospective employees have previous experience.

1. How do youngsters gain “previous experience” if shipping companies won't employ them?

2. Are there any companies out there which are perhaps more "female friendly" than others?

Any advice gratefully accepted.

david freeman
27th May 2009, 17:29
I am a little ignorant of the HND qualification these days? Does it give any exemptions from the Certificate Of Competancy System CLASS 1 &2)for any flag state? Are you a UK national taking a Department of Transport Certificate of Competancy? Or are you training to the IMO University Standards (Malmo) for an STCW certificate of Competancy in any flag state? You have to follow your dream, with an HND and sailing at any rank, and as a cadet (Your age is not declared?) you may have to serve in a lowly rank.
You should not dispair in the old days an HND was all but a good engineering degree, and was usually converted to an external Hons degree by doing a one year conversion course at university. You must weigh up your options and decide which gives you a wider choice of oportunity, a Dept Certificate of Competany or a degree. eg. A Class 2 and class 1 Certificate of competancy used to mean at least 15 Months on articles for each ticket ( In sea time). In sea time and leave time this could take at least 24months ? or more. For Class 1 & 2 a total of 4 years. If you persue the shortest route to the HND and a converstion course, you may be able to complete this sooner if you study the requirements carfully. Remember a C/E job requires experience even if you pass your tickets and sail at rank that is 4 years to get the ticket and some time after for experience ( Say 26/7 years old at the youngest age. If You get a degree you may be able to obtain a more rewarding and challenging job ashore-Maybe for less money, but it would allow you to develope a private life outside the crew of say the 19-24 persons you may sail with as ships company. The Future is yours chose wisely. Once in the money at sea the oportunities for renumeration ashore may be restrictive, but it is you who has to chose the life style. Ask plenty of questions?

27th May 2009, 18:07
Try the bigger companies, P&O, Shell, RFA, BP, Maersk etc, Cruise ships require more officers than say a tanker so should have more positions available. P&O Cruises are decent employers as are other Carnival group lines (Cunard, HAL, etc). I don't think being female makes any difference these days although one tip I would have is don't be scared to ask for help, the few female engineers I have met have often suffered from a complex where by they struggle away without asking for a hand which generaly leads to a **** up because they don't want to appear less worthy than a male when infact the male would have asked for a hand almost imediately. But at sea now I don't think there is any stigma now, infact it can be nice to have a woman onboard as it gives a different perspective in conversation. Another plus of the cruise world is she would definateley not be the only girl aboard.
Ofcourse she will need to pass the orals first as the HND is just the academics and doesnt dispose of the oral exam.
Clyde marine have supposedly got jobs as well.

27th May 2009, 18:41
david f and cryan,

Thank you for your valuable contributions which I will pass on to the young lady.
She is studying at a UK Nautical College and although she is scheduled to complete her HND next Spring, she will be sitting her orals earlier than that.

Interesting list of companies cryan! When I was speaking to her this morning, knowing that they all used to be good training companies, I suggested the same ones. Apparently nowadays even these companies are reluctant to employ newly qualified engineers. The only one we were unsure about was BP. Is anyone with recent BP experience able to advise on employmenyt prospects there?

The young lady is very "switched on" and is already looking to her future career. Although she won't be qualified for some time yet, she will shortly be writing to companies to sound out her prospects. That's really why she is wondering if anyone can offer suggestion for suitable companies to approach. (Thumb)

27th May 2009, 18:44
If anyone is uncomfortable discussing the various companies on an open forum, I'll gratefully accept advice by PM. (==D)

27th May 2009, 21:58
Who is sponsering her through her training? Do they not provide a year or two post training? Usually you need to complete either the HND or the SVQ or both before the MCA will issue the notice of eligibility which is required to sit the Oral.

27th May 2009, 23:53
It seems the majority of cadets at college today are not company cadets, but those employed by 'Training Groups' and indirectly sponsored by Companies taking advantage of the tonnage tax.
Very few of them actually find permanent employment with their sponsoring companies after qualifying, this leaves many other outfits with a ready supply of newly qualified people which they haven't had to pay to train, often employing these people at the bottom end of the wage scale.
Generally it's just the companies which pay the higher wages (e.g. Oil Majors, RFA etc) which still employ their own Cadets, as of course they then have the benefit of learning the company way from day one.

Satanic Mechanic
28th May 2009, 00:17
The first question that has to asked is:

What does she want to do?

28th May 2009, 16:47
Thanks for the comments James and SM.

She is currently employed by one of the Training Groups and the companies which she has had placements with have indicated that they won't be looking to employ newly qualified engineers.

The girl is determined to pursue a career as a marine engineer, in a sea-going capacity. With experience and having served the appropriate time, she intends to progress through the ranks - and good luck to her! (Thumb)

Thank you to everyone who has contacted me by PM. I will forward all your suggestions which, I know, will be gratefully received. (Applause)

david freeman
28th May 2009, 19:39
Dear Gulphers, Do Not forget the North Sea supply boats, and Standby boats. Not very glamerous, but a couple had I think apprenticeship schemes-One name is the Old Stirling Shipping (Harrisons of Glasgow) Who are now part of an America Group with the North Sea Marine Office in Lowestoft-opposite the dock and in the old Boston Shipping Offices-Sorry I cannot be more precice. The Other companpies are Stand By and Supply Boats one based in Montrose and one in Aberdeen Harbour ( The name of the two different cmpanies escape me). They are or have the power range for Class 2E and I think Class 1E rank over 2000 KW? I do not think the vessels while the C/E can hold a Class 3Endorsementis(3000KW) a restriction in sitting Class 2 or 1 C/E Examination? Please check! The sea time may take some time with 4 weeks on 4 weeks off being a condition of service. Good luck to the young lady. I met a C/O and Master on these ships who where female and very happy to sail in those ships.

28th May 2009, 20:14
BP is a good company always looking for people they are very pro female we have a good few female 2/eng at this moment in time and being a female nowadays is not a problem things have gotten easier with technology and hydraulic jacks to remove cylinder heads wot a doddle if you need and address drop me an email glad to help

29th May 2009, 00:19

Thank you once again for your valuable information. I have passed all the earlier suggestions to the young lady and she is delighted with the assistance you have offered her. (Applause)

david f,

Not my cup of tea however, for an ambitious Cadet like my friend, nothing can be ruled out! (Thumb)


Your post is most encouraging. If you could send me a Private Message (PM) with some details, I will gladly forward them. (Thumb)

Derek Roger
29th May 2009, 01:40
Stay with it young Lady . You will not ever regret " Going to Sea "


29th May 2009, 01:46

I also know the Young Lady in question and I know that that is the type of thing she'd LOVE to hear!

david freeman
29th May 2009, 07:47
Dear Gulpers, The Lowestoft Offshore Supply/Stand By Boat company 'Seacon ' Columbus Buildings Waveney Road Lowestoft NR32 1BH Tel 01502 573366. Last I knew of them? Good Luck.

29th May 2009, 09:46
If for any reason the young lady fails to find sea-going employment, the FM industry is crying out for M & E engineers of the standard set by marine eng. cadets.
I did my time with STUK back in the 70's / 80's and the training & experience is invaluable, would love to have stayed on but there we go.
At a recent CIBSE (the building services institute) seminar, the shortage of good engineers who can manage & operate modern facilities,as well as being literate & numerate, think ahead and manage in a crisis, is now becoming an issue. Out of the 30 people gathered, there was 3 ex-shell engineers to my certain knowledge, all of us in senior management positions equating to C/E or Superintendent.

Satanic Mechanic
29th May 2009, 12:53

What I was more getting at was is she interested in particular ships, does she prefer a social life of some description, is she looking for opportunities outwith the sea going, does she want to see the world, what length of trips is she willing to do.

There are plenty of companies out there, most can offer something, its just a matter of finding out what it is you want.

For instance, I have no interest in working on cruise ships, I like 'technical' ships such as LNG/LPG, I like to have a 4 month rotation, I like getting up the road, I have moved into the ship building / ship repair side of the industry within a major company. I absolutely will not work for an Oil Major (BP in particular) again, or any company that is 'micro managed'. I know a lot of companies - if you could give me a few pointers I will happily tell you about what may be suitable.

29th May 2009, 13:08
Coastguard ETV's?

29th May 2009, 13:16
try RFA or the environment agency NERC.

29th May 2009, 22:40
Maersk would be my choice - great variety of ships.

29th May 2009, 22:40
Once again Gents, thank you for you suggestions and encouragement.

Satanic Mechanic,

Thank you for your interest.

I have a feeling that neither cruise ships or ferries attract her. The prospect of ocean passages and the chance of some serious engineering is more up her street. Whilst social life is nice, at this stage in her career she wants to concentrate on developing her engineering skills. Like you, she would prefer a technical challenge. She is not work shy, will gladly roll up her sleeves and get stuck into a task! (==D)

31st May 2009, 16:40
I have no suggestion. My organization requires Cdn citizenship.
Do you want to immigrate? ;)

8th June 2009, 20:32
I'm with maersk currently training and its in our contracts that we have a guaranteed job at the end of the cadetship. Whether that happens remains to be seen. But, a newly qualified engineer i sailed with was not a cadet with maersk but was taken on as a fifth engineer and promoted onboard.

26th August 2009, 13:12
Hi All
This may be of interest to the young lady,
Chief Engineer On MV Ulysses, Largest Ferry in the world at one time

26th August 2009, 21:02
In all due respect being a Woman Purser onboard is nothing like being an woman engineer onboard a ship. Totally different.

27th August 2009, 05:05
Read further on JoK, there is a whole section in Dave's link about Chief Engineer Bridget Gavin on MV Ulysses September 2008. (Thumb)
Very informative for any young lady considering a sea going career. (==D)

27th August 2009, 05:38
:sweat: I have seen that page before, the lady Chief engineer is a new addition. And thank you for the bolding, so I am ensured to see it Gulpers.
I'm embarrassed and apologies due to Dave4e.
But I stand by my comment regarding the engineering being a little more difficult then being a purser for a woman.

Satanic Mechanic
27th August 2009, 08:23
In all due respect being a Woman Purser onboard is nothing like being an woman engineer onboard a ship. Totally different.

JoK - I think you will find the article is about Bridget Gavin who is Chief Engineer, single mother and also as it happens - my ex apprentice and 4th Engineer!!!!! - just a hint of personal smugness/pride in that statement? - you betcha!!!!! I'm chuffed to pieces for her (K)

27th August 2009, 08:53
I was talking about the Chief Engineer on MV Ulysses, she is Female.

Ian J. Huckin
10th May 2010, 22:11
I'm a little late picking up on this thread but I would recommend Chiquita or J. Lauritzen. But then I have a real soft spot for reefers. Best of luck to her, it is a great life.

10th May 2010, 22:33
I,m working in a dry dock facility at the moment, and see quiet a few women engineers on the ships, the vast majority seem to be on the various cruise lines vessels