A new intake of 24 students – 12 deck cadets and 12 engineer cadets – have started their training at the NAFC Marine Centre on a brand new Merchant Navy officer cadet programme.
The new course has been developed by the centre’s Shetland School of Nautical Studies (SSNS) in partnership with several major UK nautical colleges. It introduces a National Certificate in Shipping and Maritime Operations, which provides a foundation for the HNC/HND studies which occur in the later years of the programme.
The national certificate is common to both the deck and engineer officer routes, which means that – for the first time – all students will be taught by both deck and engineering lecturers on common subjects. This is a completely new way of working for SSNS staff who have all been involved in developing the new course material.
Head of school Jan Rigden said: “We are delighted that, once again, we have a full complement of cadets joining our programme, with 11 students from Shetland, four from Orkney and nine from the Scottish mainland.
It is always pleasing to see a good mix of candidates from within and outwith Shetland, which demonstrates that the reputation and awareness of our training programme and facilities continues to grow.
“This is a ground-breaking time for us as we embark on delivering a brand new course and we are very much looking forward to training and developing these new cadets into aspiring officers of the future.”
The course gives cadets the opportunity to put theory into practice with alternating periods at sea and in the classroom. They are sponsored by a variety of training and shipping companies, including four who are sponsored annually by Shetland Islands Council’s ferries division.
Mr Rigden added: “The Merchant Navy continues to offer great career prospects for both young men and women, and UK officers are very much in demand and have excellent prospects on qualification.
“Our next intake will start in September 2010, and we hope that any young people interested in a challenging career at sea will contact us in the New Year for further information.”