UK Shipping cadets

Overview

Could you see yourself as an officer on a ship? Transporting commodities all over the world on a multi-million dollar supertanker?

It’s a role like no other. And with our structured cadet programme, you can become a fully trained officer with internationally recognized qualifications in three years. Training is sponsored by us – we pay your exam and course fees, and give you a generous monthly allowance. Then when you finish, you will have the opportunity to embark on a long-term career with one of the world’s most advanced international fleets.

Minimum requirements

  • At least 18 years old.
  • A minimum of 64 UCAS points (or equivalent) including Maths or Science OR
  • A minimum 5 G.C.S.E.s at grade B or above in English, Maths, Science (with Physical Science content).
     

Deck cadet

This wide-ranging role will make you a key part of the crew. 

You’ll learn to:

  • navigate the ship safely
  • Load and unload cargo
  • Handle the ship’s legal and commercial affairs
  • Oversee crew operations.

Once you click 'apply' you will be taken to a realistic job preview to give you a real insight into the role.  You will then be able to proceed to apply for your chosen cadet opportunity.

What you can expect

You’ll split your time between deck operations (such as chipping rust off metalwork) and bridge/cargo watchkeeping. Watchkeeping involves monitoring equipment and dials, as well as looking out for other vessels and hazards. Shifts vary, but are usually four hours at a time. You’ll also shadow more senior crew and help with a range of tasks, for example: navigational watch – monitoring radar, performing lookout duties and observing the passage of the ship; cargo watch – monitoring the operation of pumps, flow of cargo, tank levels; safety rounds; maintenance of equipment. 

We’ll expect you to note navigation corrections and monitor the position of the ship (day and night), navigating by the stars. Over time, you’ll progress to more complex navigation duties such as planning the passage of the ship (and ensuring it remains on this path), avoiding collisions by safely passing other vessels and making continuous calculations regarding distance, speed and time (taking into account weather conditions etc.). At port, you’ll learn about anchoring, mooring and safe docking, as well as cargo operations, stripping tanks and loading.

Learning and development

Phase 1

As a cadet on one of our programmes, you'll spend the first phase at nauticall college, learning about the following:

  • Chartwork
  • Tides and sailings
  • Meteorology
  • Cargo work and ship construction
  • Celestial navigation
  • Electronic navigation systems
  • Bridge watchkeeping
  • Emergency response and ship stability
  • Passage planning
  • Bridge management, meteorology
  • Stability, structures and maintenance
  • Shipmasters business and law
  • Shipboard management and safety management systems

Phase 2

You'll then spend time at sea getting practical, hands-on experience.

Phase 3

After that, it's back to dry land for some classroom based learning.

We'll teach you about more complex areas such as:

  • Marine law and management
  • Cargo contracts and port operations
  • Handling incidents such as collisions and groundings

Phase 4

For the next stage of training, you'll need your sea legs again.  You'll go bck onto one of BP's ships to embed your academic knowledge, where you'll be given more responsibility.

Phase 5

The final stage involves another phse of college followed by academic and oral exams.

Qualifications

When you finish the training, you’ll have the following internationally recognized qualifications:
  • A UK foundation degree or college diploma in marine operations.
  • A seafarer’s licence.
  • Deck Watchkeeping Officer ‘certificate of competency’ from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
Once you’re trained and qualified, you’ll be ready to apply for a permanent post as a deck officer on one of our ships. You’ll then have the opportunity to continue your training – up to Ships Masters certification. 

Engineer cadet

Hot and frenetic, the engine room is the heart of any ship. 

Our training will teach you about:
  • The ship’s main engines; marine diesel or steam turbines.
  • Running and maintaining all of the mechanical equipment on board.

Once you click 'apply' you will be taken to a realistic job preview to give you a real insight into the role.  You will then be able to proceed to apply for your chosen cadet opportunity.

What you can expect 

As a cadet, you’ll work day shifts with your department and at times support watchkeeping in the engine room. On a day shift you will be involved in anything from stripping an engine and inspecting components, to following the path of water, oil or steam through the ship – or ‘tracing them out’ as it’s known on board. You’ll be working with large machinery and safety is critical. The exposure you get to the ship’s systems will be down to the on board senior management team and your hunger to learn.

Other than maintenance, in future as an officer, you will be in charge of the safety of all staff in the engine room and as an engine cadet you will understudy this aspect thoroughly.   

Learning and development

Phase 1

As a cadet on one of our programmes, you'll spend the first phase at nautical college, learning about the following:

  • Workshop skills training
  • Engineering science
  • Analytical methods for engineers
  • Pneumatics and hydraulics
  • Instrumentation and control principles
  • Marine electrical systems
  • Marine diesel propulsion
  • Marine auxiliary plant
  • Engineering design
  • Naval architecture
  • Thermodynamics and management

Phase 2

You'll then spend time at sea, getting practical, hands on experience.

Phase 3

After that, it's back to dry land for some classroom based learning.

We'll teach you about more complex areas such as:

  • Marine law and management
  • Cargo contracts and port operations
  • Handling incidents such as collisions and groundings

Phase 4

For the next stage of training, you'll need your sea legs again.

Phase 5

The final stage involves three more months of college followed by academic and oral exams.

Qualifications

When you finish the training, you’ll have the following internationally recognized qualifications:
  • A UK foundation degree or college diploma in marine engineering.
  • A seafarer’s licence.
  • Engineer Watchkeeping Officer ‘certificate of competency’ from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
Once you’re trained and qualified, you’ll be ready to apply for a permanent post as an engineering officer on one of our ships. Once an officer, you’ll have the opportunity to continue your training – up to Chief Engineer’s certification. 

Electro technical cadet

You’ll learn to maintain and repair all the electrical and electronic equipment, installations and machinery on board a ship. These include:
  • Electrical generating plant
  • Electronic/automated control systems
  • Bridge navigational equipment
  • Radio communications
  • Propulsion control

Once you click 'apply' you will be taken to a realistic job preview to give you a real insight into the role.  You will then be able to proceed to apply for your chosen cadet opportunity.

What you can expect

The task of looking after electrical and electronic systems falls into two categories: planned maintenance and reactive fault-finding and resolution. There may be more fault-finding and resolution required on older ships. With both types of work, you’ll learn on the job, often dealing with cutting edge technology. Over time, you’ll get exposure to machinery and systems that you’re unlikely to get elsewhere. Remember that many of the systems are so advanced that there is no manual replacement for them. That makes you and your skills very important indeed. As vessels become more sophisticated, your role will only become more significant.

Electro technical cadets usually work as part of a very small team. In fact, you’re likely to be the only electro technical cadet on the boat. That means you’ll have a lot of responsibility – but also the chance to explore a wide range of technology, issues and challenges that electrical engineers in other fields won’t.

Learning and development

Phase 1

As a cadet on one of our programmes, you'll spend the first phase at nautical college, learning about the following:

  • Workshop skills training
  • Marine engineering principles for electro technical officers (ETO's)
  • Engineering science
  • Marine electrics
  • Electrical power systems
  • Electrical legislation and management
  • Marine auxiliaries
  • Further mathematics
  • Electro-mechanical plant operation and diagnostics
  • Electronic principles and systems
  • Instrumentation and control systems maintenance
  • Electronic navigation systems
  • Electrical machines
  • Navigation systems fault diagnostics
  • Radio communication engineering

Phase 2

You'll then spend time at sea, getting practical, hands on experience.

Phase 3

After that, it's back to dry land for some classroom based learning.

We'll teach you about more complex areas such as:

  • Marine law and management
  • Cargo contracts and port operations
  • Handling incidents such as collisions and groundings

Phase 4

For the next stage of training, you'll need your sea legs again.

Phase 5

The final stage involves three more months of college followed by academic and oral exams.

Qualifications

When you finish the training, you’ll have the following internationally recognized qualifications: 
  • A UK foundation degree in marine electrical and electronic engineering.
  • A UK Marine Electro-Technical Officer (METO) ‘certificate of competency’ (STCW A-III/6 OOW) from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
Once you’re trained and qualified, you’ll be ready to apply for a permanent post as an electro technical officer on one of our ships. 

Who we’re looking for

Being a cadet is demanding, both mentally and physically. To thrive, you need to be driven and logical, with an interest in living and working at sea. You’ll be expected to muck in – and do your share of chipping and painting! So it’s important you’re prepared to take orders and work as part of a team. After all, the crew’s depending on you to help run a huge, multi-million dollar ship. 

While hours can be long, often with limited time on land, you’ll have a dedicated team to support you, plus time to relax and chill out. Our vessels are highly advanced and many have gyms, games consoles and wi-fi.

If you’re motivated, self-sufficient, adaptable and keen to learn, you could have what it takes to join the BP fleet. 

Why join BP?

Our industry moves quickly. To remain at the forefront, we need to invest – in people and their development, not just research and technology. For this reason, we spend millions of pounds developing exceptional talent, including people like you. 

When you join, you’ll be part of a company committed to growing our business – and your career.
 
As a shipping cadet, you have an amazing opportunity to get qualified and prepare for a successful career. With sponsored training, all your exam and course fees are paid by us, and you get a generous monthly subsidence allowance. Once you qualify as a trainee officer, we’ll give you an opportunity to apply for a permanent role in our fleet and the chance to build a future.

Employee profile

I love the unpredictability of this job – no two days are the same. There is a lot of problem-solving and it is very stimulating. It’s not just about solving problems, but finding ways for these problems not to occur in the future, which makes it exciting.  The training is very good, and it does not feel like just attending college. You don’t just do basic training at BP, but you go above and beyond to learn new things. 

We are all very well looked after by BP. The culture is great as everyone is very friendly. I wasn’t sure what life would be like on the ship as people are very different and come from different backgrounds, but everyone gets along great and life on the ship is never boring. They look after you very well. They take everything into account – our wellbeing, comfort and accommodation.  

If anyone needs anything they take it really seriously – even the small things. Whether it has to do with college accommodation or hotel residence, they look after us no matter what.

Read Iona's story

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