Shipping cadets

Sea cadets

Cosy 1-bed in mid-Atlantic

£35k per year tax free after qualification

Work doesn’t have to be 9 to 5. In fact, what could be better than waking up to a sea view, knowing that you’re sailing straight for a tax-free salary and a degree-equivalent qualification? So work your way around the world as a sponsored sea cadet, earning as you learn on the BP fleet.

Highlights

Picture yourself cruising the oceans on a multi-million dollar supertanker, transporting commodities all over the world. And you could become a fully trained officer with internationally-recognized qualifications in just three adventure-filled years.

We’ll pay your exam and course fees, and give you a generous allowance (starting at £11,000 per year!) to help you enjoy your journey. At the end of it all there’s a job opportunity with a tax-free salary, so that you can start your long-term career with one of the world’s most advanced international fleets.

Minimum requirements to board:

  • At least 18 years old by 1 September 2019
  • A minimum of 64 UCAS points (or equivalent) including Maths or Science OR
  • A minimum of 5 GCSEs at Level 5 or above in English, Maths, Science (with Physical Science content).

Why here?

You’ll be at the very heart of a technology-driven, multi-billion pound organisation. Yet the team around you will be like family. It’s a unique way to begin your career and earn a free degree. There’s a job opportunity at the end, and you’ll be spending 2-3 months at sea at any one time, with a break of the same length afterwards. And in the meantime, there are people to support you and even games consoles, gyms, swimming pools and wifi so that you can chill out. You can also rest assured about your wellbeing - our vessels are all about taking the safest route, not the quickest one.

Ideal accommodation for you?

It could be, if you’re sensible and resilient enough to spend up to three months at sea. You’ll also need to be able to take orders, be adaptable and disciplined with a real can-do attitude, even if you’re chipping and painting. The cadets who do well on board are driven and very self-sufficient. On top of that, it’s essential that you have at least 64 UCAS points or equivalent or a minimum of 5 GCSEs at Level 5 or above in English, Maths, Science (with Physical Science content). Yes, it’s demanding. But really rewarding.

The application process

When you click apply, you’ll be taken through to a realistic job description that will give you proper insight. After that, you’ll fill in the application form and submit it, along with your CV. After screening, we’ll ask you to complete some verbal and numerical tests.

If you get through to the assessment centre stage, there will be a competency-based interview, a facilitated test and a group exercise. The group exercise has a strong focus on safety, so make sure you’re prepared for that aspect.

Deck cadet - You’ll go all over the ship as you learn to navigate, load and unload cargo, handle legal and commercial affairs and oversee crew operations.

Engineer cadet - Hot and frenetic, the engine room is the beating heart of any ship.

Electro technical cadet - You’ll learn to maintain and repair all the electrical and electronic equipment, installations and machinery on board our ships.

Graduate engineer cadet - If you’re a graduate, you can accelerate through the programme and even complete it in half the time.

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You’ll go all over the ship as you learn to navigate, load and unload cargo, handle legal and commercial affairs and oversee crew operations.

What you can expect on your stay

Usually on four-hour shifts, you’ll handle physical tasks such as chipping rust off metalwork, and bridge/cargo watchkeeping, which involves monitoring equipment and looking out for other vessels. You’ll also shadow more senior crew and help monitor pump operations, maintain equipment and more. In time, you’ll learn to plan the ship’s passage and learn all about anchoring, docking and cargo operations.

 

Learning and development

Phase 1

You'll spend the first phase on land, at nautical college, learning all about chart work, tides and sailings, meteorology, cargo work, ship construction, celestial navigation, electronic navigation, bridge watch-keeping and more.

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 marine law and management, cargo contracts and port operations, and handling incidents.

Phase 4

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

Phase 5

The final stage involves one more phase of college, followed by academic and oral exams.

Qualifications

After training, you’ll have a UK foundation degree or college diploma in marine operations, a seafarer’s licence and Deck Watchkeeping Officer ‘certificate of competency’ from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). You’ll also be ready to apply for a permanent post as a deck officer on one of our ships. Then, if you want, you can continue your training – up to Ships Masters certification.

Hot and frenetic, the engine room is the beating heart of any ship. Our training will teach you about the ship’s main engines and how to run and maintain all the mechanical equipment on board.

What you can expect on your stay

You’ll work day shifts and sometimes support watchkeeping in the engine room. It means handling anything from stripping an engine and inspecting components, to following the path of water, oil or steam through the ship. You’ll be dealing with large machinery so safety is critical. As an officer, you’ll also be in charge of the safety of all staff in the engine room, so we’ll give you full training.

Learning and development

Phase 1

You'll spend the first phase on land, at nautical college, learning about workshop skills, engineering science, analytical methods, pneumatics and hydraulics, instrumentation and control principles, marine electrical systems, diesel propulsion and more.

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 around marine law and management, cargo contracts and port operation, and handling incidents.

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 a UK foundation degree or college diploma in marine engineering, a seafarer’s licence and Engineer Watchkeeping Officer ‘certificate of competency’ from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). Then you’ll be able to apply for a permanent post on one of our ships. Later on you can also continue training – up to Chief Engineer’s certification.

You’ll learn to maintain and repair all the electrical and electronic equipment, installations and machinery on board our ships. These include electrical generating plant, electronic/automated control systems, bridge navigational equipment and radio communications propulsion control.

What you can expect on your stay

Looking after electrical and electronic systems involves planned maintenance and reactive fault-finding and resolution. You’ll learn on the job, often dealing with cutting edge technology, machinery and advanced systems that you’re unlikely to get anywhere else. As vessels become more sophisticated, you’ll become even more important to us.

You’re likely to be the only electro technical person on board. That means you’ll have lots of responsibility, as well as the chance to explore an expanse of technology, issues and challenges that you just couldn’t elsewhere.

Learning and development

Phase 1

You'll spend the first phase on land, at nautical college, learning about workshop skills, marine engineering principles, engineering science, marine electrics, electric power systems, electrical legislation and management, marine auxiliaries, further Maths, electro-mechanical plant diagnostics and more.

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 around marine law and management, cargo contracts and port operation, and handling incidents.

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 a UK foundation degree in marine electrical and electronic engineering, and a UK Marine Electro-Technical Officer (METO) ‘certificate of competency’ (STCW A-III/6 OOW) from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). Then you’ll be able to apply for a permanent role.

If you’re a graduate, you can accelerate through the programme and even complete it in half the time.

You’ll need a degree in marine, electrical or civil engineering.

Meet some cadets

Iona

Iona joined BP in 2015, and had a gift for engineering when she was young

I’ve always loved to pick apart different objects, to understand their mechanisms. When I was younger I picked apart alarm clocks, wrist watches and household appliances, such as a washing machine.

In this field there’s a lot of legislation, particularly health & safety, which we need to be aware of during our practical work. We also learn about mechanics and electrical engineering. We have workshops where we take apart and learn about different types of machinery that we could see on-board the ship.

The most exciting work has been the 2,000-hour maintenance of a generator, probably because I was very involved in it. We had to take off the fuel injectors and test them to make sure they were firing at the correct pressure. It was a very thorough process and with many different aspects that we had to consider.

At BP, 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.

Katie

Katie’s nearing the end of her training programme and has been everywhere from Rotterdam to Chile

So far, I’ve got to visit Houston, Beaumont, New York, Long Beach, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Singapore, Korea and Panama - we went around Cape Horn and through the Panama Canal which was fantastic!

My first stint at sea was really exciting, but also quite daunting. The size of the ship was surprising as it’s hard to visualise quite how huge it’s going to be – it was 330m long, that’s three rugby pitches end to end and one of the biggest in our fleet.

I enjoyed my time so much I ended up extending an extra two months, so was on the ship for five months in total.

There are so many facilities on-board; cinema, TV room, gym, table tennis, basketball, pool and so on. Our cabins are a good size too, with our own bathroom.

I’d say I have a lot of determination to succeed and that’s important. I found the exams quite challenging and you also have down days now and again at sea – when the weather is awful, for example – but you just have to push on through! If you’re driven to achieve goals, confident and able to get on with a range of people, then this is a great opportunity.

FAQ

Would I get my own cabin or have to share? What about showering facilities?

In all BP ships you will have your own cabin that is ensuite, so you can be assured you will have total privacy, should you need it.

The salary is £35k per annum after qualification, and tax free. How does that work?

BP Cadets, after successfully completing their studies, that are hired on board our ships can expect a salary starting at £35,000 tax free once they are employed. Because you are working in international waters, and not on UK land your earnings are not subject to UK taxation, therefore you do not pay any tax on your earnings!

Is there good Wifi? I’ll need to keep in touch with friends and family.

All of our ships have Wifi on board. Of course the strength of that Wifi will depend on where you are in the world and what ship you are on, but every day you will have allotted time with internet access to help you stay in touch with your loved ones, as well as dedicated telephone times.

I don’t see myself as a very academic type. How much support is there during the degree?

At your college you will have a dedicated tutor to help you with any problems or areas for development you are not able to address in class, where you are taught by experts in their field with real experience of doing what they will teach you. You will also be studying alongside other BP Cadets with access to study groups to help you gear up for life onboard.

Supposing there’s a family emergency when I’m on board and I need to get home?

Unfortunately there won’t be a way for you to get off the vessel once it’s at sea unless it’s due to dock somewhere. We’ll do our very best to be supportive if you’re going through a difficult time, but please bear this in mind before you apply.

It’s mostly men on board. What if a woman needs to see a female doctor?

We want you to feel safe and comfortable and when possible, and requested by a female employee, a female doctor will be provided if a shore based medical review or telemedicine is required onboard. It is important to note however if emergency treatment is required the employee will be allocated a doctor regardless of gender in order to preserve life as a first priority.

I might be the only woman on the vessel. Will it be safe?

As far as possible and operational constraints permitting,  we try to have two female officers on onboard at any time. Having said that, BP also has strong values – one of which is respect – and we find that everyone on board treats everyone with respect and like family. BP also has a strong diversity and inclusion culture and if anyone feels worried or intimidated, we take it very seriously. There are procedures in place to protect you and multiple ways to address any concerns whilst onboard, so don’t think twice about speaking to the Cadet Performance and Development Officer, who will be responsible for you from BP’s perspective. Your safety is more important than anything.

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