Career advice for old man??

ian3006
4th August 2009, 13:12
Hello gentlemen (and ladies),

This may not be an appropriate place to ask for this adice, I'm sure that I will be told if that is the case.

I am a forty two year old engineering craftsman. I served an apprenticeship in the army many years back and trained on diesels, then moved into general engineering contracting.

At this ripe old age, and eventually being in a position financially to do it, I want to make a career change and head off to sea.

Here's the thing; I want to be able to gain employment as an engineering rating, with a view to working my way up with time. I'd like to experience the Merchant Navy life from the bottom up. Can anyone offer any advice as to how someone like myself, with a solid engineering background, but no sea time, can get a foot on the ladder?

I know that I could apply for a cadetship (but don't relish the idea of studying alongside 16 year olds) or could apply to the RFA for a trainee position as MM2. I was just wondering if any of you experienced gentlemen could suggest anyother routes that I might try.

Thanks in advance for your help and my apologies if I have broken etiquette by asking this here.

Regards,

Ian.

non descript
4th August 2009, 13:52
Ian, No apology needed, and a warm welcome to you. Thank you for joining the community and thank you for your first posting. Hopefully it will bear fruit and folk will comment wisely for you. Do enjoy the site and all it has to offer, and we very much look forward to your postings. Bon Voyage. (Thumb)

Satanic Mechanic
4th August 2009, 14:01
Either go for the RFA or go and become an unsponsored cadet (your chances of a sponsorship are virtually zero I'm afraid), forget deepsea engineroom crew with exception of the RFA there are no deep sea British crews.

personally I would bite the bullet go to college and get good marks and there is a reasonable chance someone will at least give you seatime.

K urgess
4th August 2009, 14:12
Welcome aboard from East Yorkshire, Ian.
Best of luck with getting away to sea.
Find your way around our ship and enjoy the voyage.

sidsal
4th August 2009, 14:59
Ian; If I were your age I wouldn't go in the MN because it seems to me that the quality of life therein has deteriorated over the years. Loneliness, boredom etc seems to be a problem.
I would suggest the world of big yachts belonging to rich so-and so's. Engineers in particular are like hen's teeth and eagerly sought and on good money. Furthermore these craft spend most of the time moored in some beautiful places where the life is cushy. The Caribbean, the Med, the South Pacific etc is their haunt.
There are recruitment agencies about whom you could approach.
Best wishes .
Sid

Satanic Mechanic
4th August 2009, 15:00
Ian; If I were your age I wouldn't go in the MN because it seems to me that the quality of life therein has deteriorated over the years. Loneliness, boredom etc seems to be a problem.
I would suggest the world of big yachts belonging to rich so-and so's. Engineers in particular are like hen's teeth and eagerly sought and on good money. Furthermore these craft spend most of the time moored in some beautiful places where the life is cushy. The Caribbean, the Med, the South Pacific etc is their haunt.
There are recruitment agencies about whom you could approach.
Best wishes .
Sid
Still need a ticket though!

R58484956
4th August 2009, 15:47
Greetings Ian and welcome to SN. Good luck with your endeavers, why not try RFA, at least it is a starting point. Bon voyage.

OLD STRAWBERRY
4th August 2009, 21:11
Hello Ian,
I too would suggest the RFA to be Your best bet. I have every reason to be grateful to the RFA as back in 1995 I was employed at the Naval Base at Portland but due the the closure I was made redundant at the age of 53. In 1996 I joined a Crewing agency and I specified RFA Ships, two weeks later I was given RFA Fort Austin and joined her in North Shields after finalising her refit. I was to be in her for 7 months, during that time I applied for a company contract after an interview at Portsmouth I was duly accepted I was then 54. I completed 6 years service and was finaly retired from the RFA aged 60 in 2002. On acceptance the RFA will offer You security of employment, good pay and leave (maybe some may disagree with that) good sickness leave and a good pension. My 6 Years employment was added to My Naval base pension which really gave that a boost. I have to add that life in the RFA is not for the faint hearted, definitely a Younger man's job but I feel sure You would enjoy the challenge. Give it a go Ian.

sidsal
4th August 2009, 21:54
Satanic Mechanic:
Point taken - probably need ticket now. When I was in big yachts engineers didn't neccessarily have to be certificated . Now I think insurers insist on tickets. RFA of course would probably be great for training and has the advantage that. Like the RN they spend a lot of time alongside. Also pensions and security are probably good.
Story : One day I was in the front garden and an auqintance came by accompanied by a young man with a beard. Turned out he was his son and on asking what he did, he said he had just arrived home after sailing one of these big cats from Tasmania and that he had a C/E ticket. he was going to the Meddy for the summer to supervise some flotilla sailing . I suggested he should go in big yachts and I gave him the spiel. Result - a month or 2 later, my nephew rang him to affer post as C/E new big yacht. After that he progressed until he was C/E of the NCP owners boat and then skipper of some other big stinkpot (yachties term for a ship with no sails !!)
Funny how chance meetings can result in big things.
PS Commodore of RFA until he retired was a fellow cadet from HMS Conway
- he was called Butterworth.

Keltic Star
5th August 2009, 03:57
I don't know about the RN but the Canadian Forces are now recruiting up to age 56. In other words anyone who can put in 4 years service before retirement. I was in hospital this afternoon for a minor surgery and met a 50 year old who had joined our navy two years ago and is a "Stoker" on the H.M.C.S. "St. Johns". Of course there are no more coal fired steamships in the fleet so the rank of stoker really means ERA.

Tomorrow afternoon the wife and I are attending the swearing in ceremony of a 45 year old female friend who is being accepted into the air force to be trained as an Officer - Air Traffic Controller. Her last civvy job was managing a sandwich shop and before that a barmaid.

Obviously maturity and intelligence have as much to offer as raw young recruits who of course are still desperately needed but reluctant to sign on despite a $40,000 first year starting salary, all found with a university education thrown in if you have the inclination.

Providing she completes high school in two years time with satisfactory marks, my 16 year old Granddaughter, with 3 years in the Sea Cadets, has already been offered University and Medical School in exchange for a five year short service commission.

Unfortunately, my two Navy sons in law have refused to sponsor my application to sign up at age 67. I think they are afraid I might show them up, particualrly at the Wardroom Bar!

billyboy
5th August 2009, 11:05
Welcome aboard from the Philippines. Enjoy all this great site has to offer

ian3006
5th August 2009, 13:19
Thanks to all for the replies, support and encouragement.

I admit that I'm leaning heavily towards the RFA. Apply as motorman 2, use my engineering experience, work hard and aim for promotion as quickly as possible (while ensuring that I enjoy my time). To be fair, I've always held the military services in high regard and feel an affinity for them. After all, they did give me my initial apprenticeship - bless 'em.

Just as a matter of interest for anyone else who happens by the site considering the same sort of thing as an older entrant, I have bombarded shipping companies for possible trainee rating positions. I'm sick of reading emails that state "we work almost exclusively with Filipino crews (not that I have anything against Filipinos), try the MNTB site". The MTNB site suggests contacting the shipping companies direct - going round in circles springs to mind.

As for cadet sponsorship, I have had very positive feedback from five sponsoring companies who have said that if I speak to the maritime colleges and explain my engineering background, and as long as the colleges would be happy to take me, then they would look on an application for cadet sponsorship favourably.

Still, like I said, leaning to the RFA.

Thanks again for the responses and look forward to talking with you guys in the future.

Cheers, Ian.

Ray Mac
5th August 2009, 15:29
If you have your STCW 95, why not try the Shipping company's in the North Sea. After one tour of four weeks they will send and pay for your courses that are required in the offshore industry(Thumb)

Vroon Offshore
North Star Offshore
Gulf Offshore
Vectore Offshore

Always on the market for men.

Ray