I’m Rachael and I’m currently a Phase 3 Deck Officer Cadet studying in Glasgow. I’m originally from Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands and my journey to this point has been one of twists and turns. I originally wanted to be a Product Designer and after school I attended college and got a degree in Product Design, however I discovered during my studies that in fact I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would and couldn’t see myself doing it as a career.
During college I worked in worked in bars and I continued to do this after my course finished, I was good at it but didn’t see it as a career. Like a lot of people I’d an urge to travel and eventually I applied and was accepted for a bar job on a cruise liner. This was when I discovered my real passion; a love for ships and life at sea, I really got the bug.
During that time I struck up many friendships with other crew and through them Clyde Marine Training was recommended to me. I looked into them, applied and was accepted onto my current course and at the age of 25 found myself returning to college for a second time, albeit to do something I knew I loved. There were 25 people on my course initially, however that has dropped to 18 now. The course is challenging however if you listen, apply yourself and concentrate it’s rewarding.
I was delighted to be sponsored by Royal Caribbean as my previous experience had been on cruise ships. I’m in Glasgow until September when Phase 3 finishes, then all being well I return to sea again.
I’m 24 and after leaving school I was fortunate to apply and be accepted for a job with the Bank of Scotland. I did that for a few years but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of life. I saw an advertisement one day for Clyde Marine Training and decided to find out more about Marine Engineering Apprenticeships. After reading their website I really liked the idea and decided to apply. I was again fortunate to be accepted and began my new career in January 2014. I’m now in my third phase and back at college after spending phase two at sea.
I don’t consider myself particularly academic but I’ve found my time at college to be quite straight forward so far as long as I concentrate on what’s being taught and apply myself. Having been in full-time employment since leaving school I know that I have to be self-disciplined, college isn’t school, it’s entirely up to me to get on with the work.
Part of the attraction of Marine Engineering was the opportunity to travel and of course go to sea. So my first phase at sea was eagerly anticipated. I’m sponsored by Royal Caribbean but any thoughts I might have had that my time at sea was going to be a holiday were very quickly corrected. The work at sea was hard, both mentally and physically and it took me a few weeks to acclimatise to my new surroundings. I enjoyed my time at sea but it was much harder than I’d expected.
I’m back in Glasgow now and back at college but looking forward to going to sea again.
I’ve just finished my HNC in Marine Engineering after nearly three years of studying. I expect to get my results shortly and if I’ve passed I’ll apply for my Certificate of Competency and look for full-time employment.
When I left school I joined the Royal Marines and it was a big decision for me to come out and apply for the Merchant Navy. I think my time in the royal marines has helped me in some ways, I’d spent time on large boats before for a start, also the hierarchal structure of the merchant navy is very similar and I was used to working closely with different types of people and different nationalities, something that also happens in the forces.
I’ve a couple of close friends who are both at sea, one of who had trained with Clyde Marine Training, and it was speaking with them that led to me applying. I applied for Engineering because I literally like to get my hands dirty and I’m naturally curious about how things work.
At 24 I’m one of the oldest ones on the course. I chose to live at home whilst studying, it’s not too far from there to City of Glasgow College, but most of the class were in halls. I’ve enjoyed the training, it’s not easy but if you apply yourself it’s definitely easier. I’m quite self-disciplined, so I found the course to my liking. It’s not like school, no one is going to nag you to get the work done, it’s up to you to do it, you have to take responsibility for yourself and I liked that aspect of the training.
My time at sea was my favourite part. It really helped me to understand the theory we learned in college. I found there was a big difference between the theory and the practice, it all made much more sense when you could see it in action. All my time at sea was spent on the North Sea working on an oil platform supply vessel. The North Sea isn’t always the prettiest and I don’t mind admitting I was seasick a couple of times, but I enjoyed life on-board and the people I was working with.
So now I’m waiting to hear my results, hopefully, if all goes well, I’ll start applying for full-time jobs and begin my career in earnest.
I’m a new recruit to Clyde Marine Training having just started in January 2015, however my journey to beginning my traineeship isn’t typical. I’m 28 years old and most of my fellow trainees are a lot younger than me although there are a couple of others around my age. When I left school a decade or so ago all I wanted to do was go to sea and having achieved the necessary qualifications I applied to Clyde Marine Training for their Deck Officer programme. It was during the medical for this that it was discovered I’ve a form of colour-blindness and this meant I couldn’t join the course. I was gutted. At that point it was all I wanted to do and had been working towards, it meant I needed to rethink my career plans.
I gave it some thought and applied, and was accepted, for a degree course in Sports Management with an emphasis on water sports. As a boy I’d sailed when in the Scouts and had really enjoyed it, so if I couldn’t go to sea in a big boat this sounded like a good second choice. It meant leaving my home in Belfast and moving to England but I enjoyed the course and gained my degree and soon found work as a sailing instructor, eventually settling on the west coast of Scotland.
The desire to join the Merchant Navy never left me though and one day someone asked me if I’d ever considered applying for Marine Engineering. I hadn’t and once I looked into it the idea stuck. My minor colour-blindness has no bearing on Marine Engineering and with the necessary qualifications gained I applied and was accepted by Clyde Marine Training as a Marine Engineering Cadet.
I started in January and I’m enjoying the course, like most of my fellow cadets though I’m really looking forward to going to sea in August. I’m also delighted my sponsor company is Vroon, they’ve a great reputation right across the world and a large and varied fleet of ships.
It’s taken a while but at last I’m a Clyde Marine Trainee.