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Declan was a deck officer cadet at Warsash in the September 2013 cohort - sponsored by Carisbrooke Shipping.
In October 2016, Declan won Nautilus International's Bevis Minter Award, which recognises an officer trainee who has displayed particular determination and commitment, or who had to overcome particular challenges during their training.
We caught up with Declan to talk to him about the award, and what his plans are after leaving Warsash.
How do you feel about winning the Bevis Minter Award?I am honoured to receive this award from Nautilus. I tried my best during my training; it's nice to have that acknowledged and I'm happy that I did what was expected of me by Carisbrooke Shipping, Warsash and my family.
What do you feel is your biggest achievement during your cadetship?I can honestly say my biggest achievement was getting to the interview stage at the age of 15 for the deck officer HND programme. The hardest part was getting there because I knew I wanted a life at sea and I didn’t want to go on and study at sixth form. I have dyslexia and worked hard to ensure I met the entry criteria for GCSEs, but I also got involved with sea cadets and Duke of Edinburgh Awards, and swam at county level. I knew that if I could just get an interview with a sponsoring shipping company, they would see I had the attributes to be a ship’s officer, as I enjoy communicating and perform best under pressure.
Carisbrooke Shipping offered to sponsor me and I started my training at Warsash in September 2013. The support I received from staff during my training at Warsash and Solent University helped massively, and whilst I gained confidence in managing to work through my studies, having dyslexia equally gives me strengths in other areas and contributes to where I have got to so far.
What advice can you give for phase 1 cadets at Warsash?Just keep on going, even if you don’t feel some of the information you are being taught is relevant, it will come true eventually. Have faith in the system as it all comes together nicely in Phase 5, and once you are an officer on board your ship, you do everything you have been taught.
What are your future plans?I am fortunate to have been offered a junior officer position with Carisbrooke Shipping. Carisbrooke transports dry cargo, which means we transport different cargo every time and there is never a fixed trade route. I really enjoy this because every day on board is different and it really builds your skills in coping with varying shipping scenarios.
Once I gain sufficient sea time, I aim to return to Warsash to study for my chief mate certificate to set me on the path to becoming a Master Mariner.
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