I was enrolled on the police cadet programme in the year 2016/17, graduating in April 2017.
At the time of the graduation, I was in the process of applying for a Merchant Navy Cadetship, sponsored by a company to become a Navigational Deck Officer alongside a Foundation Degree in Nautical Science.
During my time as a Police Cadet, I had been introduced to Barry Cave, who had given various talks and sessions and knew my grandfather from their time in the police. At the graduation in Allerton, Barry attended with his wife and son, Phil, a Deck Officer in the Merchant Navy. I had the opportunity to speak to Phil who advised me about starting my career in the Merchant Navy. Subsequently, I met with Phil on several occasions to assist me with getting into the industry.
In September 2017, I started my cadetship with a cruise line, which ensues a mix of college and sea time to be eligible to take the qualifying exams. I began studying at Fleetwood Nautical Campus to take my ’short-courses’ to allow me to work at sea.
In February 2018, I got my first ship appointment, to join my ship in Sydney, for the second half of a world cruise, ending, coincidentally, in Liverpool. Strangely enough Barry Cave and his wife were on that cruise, as he was one of the speakers onboard.
I have been very fortunate with my contracts as I have been from Sydney, all the way to the Arctic, Iceland and Greenland.
Due to COVID-19, my training was delayed and I spent the last few weeks of my final contract as a cadet without any passengers onboard as the ship was laid up.
However, I qualified earlier this year, taking my Maritime Coastguard Agency oral exams, so I am now a 3rd Officer in charge of a Navigational Watch. Meaning I can perform my role on any vessel of unlimited tonnage. I am now waiting to go back and join ship, hopefully within the next several weeks.
I also passed my Foundation Degree with Distinction, next year I will be completing my final year by distance learning to attain a BSc in Sustainable Maritime Operations.
I had little idea as to whether I would enjoy and suit the Merchant Navy. It intrigued me from reading about it and I liked the balance between practical, ‘hands-on’ work and the navigational watch-keeping. I wanted to take on a challenge, Police Cadets inspired me greatly and gave me a lot of confidence for the interviews and assisted me in terms of professional conduct, having experienced a uniformed and disciplined organisation. I also believe the Police Cadets helped my CV by showing potential employers my suitability for the role. I met some excellent people during my time with the Police Cadets, both other cadets, officers and speakers alike.
I was very fortunate to share my experience with police cadets at Fleetwood Nautical Campus, as an old colleague of my Father, Inspector Dave Corcoran of the North West Underwater Search and Marine Unit, very kindly did a presentation and demonstration for our student body, which was greatly received.