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Malcolm qualified in July 2014
I have recently qualified as a marine engineer Officer of the Watch (OOW), after studying for a foundation degree in Marine Engineering at Warsash Maritime Academy. My career aspirations have always been to work at sea due to the fact that it is a very practical job that allows you to travel the world and meet new people from a wide array of cultures.
Marine engineers are responsible for monitoring, operating and maintaining all equipment on board and includes a variety of jobs, such as working on the main engines and the sewage plants. You are constantly learning, even after qualifying, working in an environment where no two days are the same.
Before joining Warsash, I decided to take a year out from studying. In this time I worked as a duty supervisor and swimming instructor at the local swimming pool. As well as enhancing my skills, the year out gave me sufficient time to fully research a career at sea and to apply to various shipping companies. All cadets are sponsored by shipping companies throughout their training period and are provided with training at sea during certain phases of the course. As I would be working for the sponsoring company at sea, I found it vitally important to fully research the type of ship I would like to work on. Due to my social nature, I chose to work on cruise ships and was offered a cadetship with Holland America Lines in conjunction with Viking Recruitment.
During my cadetship, I completed two four-month periods at sea. The first ship I worked on was the MS Oosterdam which visited ports in Hawaii, Alaska and Canada, to name a few. I found the experience of joining a ship for the first time extremely daunting and very challenging at times; however, my continued training and support from the company and college meant I soon started to gain knowledge and skills in order to become a marine engineer.
The second ship I worked on was the MS Nieuw Amsterdam which visited ports in France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Turkey and Croatia. At this stage in my training, I was in no doubt that this was the career for me. My continued training and past experiences at sea meant that I settled into my second sea phase very quickly. Subsequently, I was requested back on this ship upon qualifying and I’m looking forward to joining in the next few weeks.
To summarise the job, I would say that a career for sea is not for everyone. It will mean you are away from friends and family for long periods of time. You are also expected to live and work in the same place and with people of all ages and nationalities. However, If you are looking for a career that offers you tremendous responsibilities, allows you to travel the world and provides you with great career opportunities both at sea and ashore, whilst offering competitive pay then you will find, like me, that a career at sea is definitely for you.
Studying at Warsash has definitely been the best experience of my life. I have found the training to be second to none, the staff were always professional and on hand to assist you with your studies and the facilities available were extremely satisfactory. Even after qualifying, I have found that the staff are still there for you to answer questions or assist with career options. I am very much looking forward to returning to Warsash in the future to study for my second engineer ticket.
Update on Malcolm's career - May 2017
My career is going extremely well, as I was promoted to third engineer which is a senior role in Holland America after two and a half years with the company. I am now enjoying working a three month on and three month off rotation and still travelling to new and exciting places.
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