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Below is a list of frequently asked questions about training.

Should you be unable to find an answer to your question please contact us.

What is the Merchant Navy?

The Merchant Navy is the collective name for the UK's commercial shipping industry. There are lots of different careers in shipping and we are the largest maritime training provider in the UK recruiting approximately 50% of the annual trainee officer intake for the British Merchant Navy.

What is a nautical college?

A nautical college is an educational establishment offering various courses which help students develop the essential the skills and knowledge for a career in the maritime industry.

As part of your training with us, not only do you gain practical experience at sea but you will attend one of our partner colleges or universities which include City of Glasgow College, NAFC Marine Centre, South Tyneside, Fleetwood Nautical Campus, Liverpool John Moores, Warsash Maritime Academy and University of Plymouth.

Where can I study engineering?

If you want to become a Merchant Navy engineer then you’ve come to the right place. As part of your engineering apprenticeship, you can study engineering at one of our partner colleges or universities which include City of Glasgow College, NAFC Marine Centre, South Tyneside, Fleetwood Nautical Campus, Liverpool John Moores, Warsash Maritime Academy and University of Plymouth. We offer a variety of courses with something to suit all levels and where you study depends on what level you study at.

What is the starting salary of a deck cadet in Merchant Navy?

At Clyde Marine Training we pay cadets up to £175 per week whilst studying at college, with reduced payments of £125 whilst on sea phases when accommodation and food is provided. Once you’re qualified the typical starting salary for a third officer ranges from £22,000 to £30,000 which depends on the company and type of ship.

What classes do you need for an engineering degree?

If you want to study an engineering degree you require 48 UCAS points from 2 or more A Levels or Highers which must include either Physics or Mathematics.

You also require 4 GCSEs or Standard Grades/National 5s at grade C/3 or above including English, Mathematics and a Science based subject. 

Who pays for my tuition fees?


Tuition fees will be met by the Trainee’s Sponsoring Company. If additional local funding is available Trainees may be asked to apply for this.  


How much will I be paid?


There are two different rates of pay depending on the phase you are in. At college you get paid £175 per week whilst at sea you get paid £120 per week. As you receive sponsorship payments they are exempt from Income Tax and National Insurance. All payments are received on a monthly basis.


How long will I be away at sea?

Trip lengths will vary depending which company sponsors your training. 

  • With a ferry company a trip could be 3 or 4 weeks
  • With a North Sea supply company a trip could be 6 or 8 weeks
  • With a deep sea company you may be away from home for over 4 months at a time.


Do I get paid during college holidays?


Yes, subsistence payments are made for every week of your training programme.


Do I get paid for leave during my sea phase?


Yes, for the duration of your sea phase you are paid your subsistence payments, whilst at sea and on leave.


How long is the training?


The duration of your training depends on your chosen discipline but most courses will take about 3 years to complete, including seatime.


Do I get time off?


Whilst at college you will get normal college holidays although occasionally short courses may take place at this time to accommodate all training required.


On a sea phase you can expect to earn one week of leave for every month you are away from home. With a deep sea company you may get all your leave prior to returning to college, with other companies you will get leave between trips.


Which colleges are used for the courses?


We use all the main nautical colleges in the UK and your place of study will be dependent on course suitability for you as an individual: 

  • Fleetwood Nautical Campus

  • Glasgow College of Nautical Studies

  • Shetland School of Nautical Studies

  • South Tyneside College

  • Warsash Maritime Academy  

  • Liverpool John Moores University

  • University of Plymouth


Do I have to meet the academic entry requirements?


Yes, these requirements are set by the colleges and are a requirement for you to be enrolled onto the course. The courses all have a high maths and science based content so knowledge of these subjects is essential.


Please visit the page detailing entry requirements for more details.


How is my sponsoring company decided?


If successful at interview Trainees are sent further information on each sponsoring company and asked to pick their top three companies from a list provided. They are also asked a series of questions to find out what vessel type they are most suited to. We will then endeavour to allocate each Trainee with a suitable company using the information you have given us.


It is not always possible to place the Trainee with one of their choices as the sponsoring companies also have requirements to be taken into consideration, however we aim to match Trainees to suitable placements.


If I don’t like my sponsoring company can I change and does my sea time experience as a Trainee affect my future career choices?


When Trainees are allocated to their sponsoring company they MUST remain with them for the duration of their training.


All practical experience at sea is good experience for Trainees and once you have qualified as an Officer and served any commitments to your sponsoring company you will be able to apply for positions with any company.


Am I employed throughout my training?


Throughout your training you are a sponsored Trainee. You will have the benefits of a student at college and do not pay tax and National Insurance on any subsistence payments.


What can I claim travelling expenses for?


Expenses can only be claimed back for Trainees travelling to and from the college on the first and last day of each phase and for college holidays. You must send all receipts in with your expense claim.


When travelling to and from vessels your travel will normally be organised for you but there will be cases when you will need to get your own taxi, train or bus. In these cases you must obtain a receipt and then you can claim the expense.


Do I wear a uniform or safety gear and who supplies this?


At college all Trainees are expected to wear black trousers, white shirt/blouse, black or Clyde Marine Training tie and a blazer. You will be provided with a Clyde Marine blazer badge and in some cases, a tie from your own sponsoring company.


You will be provided with safety gear for workshops and onboard the vessel. A sea going uniform will also be required.


Do I have to attend college every day?


As a sponsored Trainee you are expected to put the most into your training in order to be successful and attend college when you are timetabled to be there.


If you are absent through sickness or have a doctor or dentist appointment, then you must call this office before 0930 in the morning to obtain an authorised absence number.


Failure to do this leads to fines of £15 for half a day and £30 for a full day. You will then have to let the college know what you have missed so you can organise what you need to catch up on.


Do I have to stay with my sponsoring company once I qualify as an Officer?


Some sponsoring companies ask their Trainees to sign a tie in with them once qualified. This allows newly qualified Officers to gain experience on vessels that are familiar to them. If a Trainee is unhappy to enter into this agreement we will place them with an alternative company, but it may not be one of their choice.


In many cases sponsoring companies will interview newly qualified Officers for junior positions.


Will my behaviour as a Trainee have any bearing on my future career?


When companies are looking to take on ex-Clyde Marine Trainees as junior Officers they will always want to know what you were like as a Trainee with regards to academics, attendance, attitude, general conduct and if you received any warnings.


Would I get any sea experience before my real sea phase begins?
Many colleges try to include a ship visit or trip on an Ocean Youth Trust vessel ( before you go onboard the vessels your company has assigned to you. This can be a great opportunity to find out what seagoing is like before embarking on the main practical part of your training.

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