In light of National Careers Week, we interviewed Emily Davies and asked her about the decision to become a Cadet Officer.

Why did you choose a cadetship?

"As someone who never really knew what to do after school, and considering university never appealed to me, as soon as I found out about Merchant Navy Cadetships, I knew that it was the perfect thing for me. A cadetship offers a way unlike any other to begin your career path with its combination of theoretical and practical learning whilst being able to travel the world. By receiving a monthly bursary and the course being fully sponsored, there is also no worry of debt from a student loan later down the line when finishing the course".

What have you liked most about your training so far and why?

"The most enjoyable parts of my training have been the practical elements. This is from the completion of short courses to getting hands-on with sextants and even doing some welding for marine structures classes. The most rewarding thing in a learning environment for me is being able to put my theoretical knowledge into play and doing practical activities achieves this. Of course, travelling the world is a bonus, but during my sea phase, I am able to do this every day with my celestial navigation and stability knowledge which is why I thoroughly enjoy it so much".

What would you say to someone thinking about starting their career at sea?

"Take a leap and do it, you really won’t regret it! I left my 2nd year of A Levels mid-way through term to accept my cadetship and since then I haven’t looked back. This career is a marathon, not a sprint, but the golden ticket of receiving your Officer of the Watch at the end will make it 100% worth it. If in doubt, speak to as many people within the industry as you can. Do plenty of research into sponsoring companies to see which are suited to you and that you would love to work for. The merchant navy is one big family, and we are always ready to help someone new become a part of it too!".

What challenges have you experienced so far in your cadetship and how have you overcome them?

"One of the biggest challenges I faced during my first phase was finding a balance between college work and socialising with college peers outside of hours. With each subject being delivered by a different lecturer, they weren’t aware of all of the other work we were assigned therefore there was always a pile of work to be done or exams that needed to be prepared for. 

"I felt frustrated at myself as I felt my grades were going to slip as I wasn’t able to focus on a task at hand without worrying about what to do next. In order to overcome this I spoke with my peers to see if they felt the same way, which they did. So we spoke to our lecturers about our concerns, to which they responded and since then they would always ask what other work we had on before assigning tasks. I ensured for the rest of the term to use my weeknights to do an extra couple hours of work to keep on top of things so that I could have my weekends to myself and socialise with classmates".

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

"In 10 years time, I’d like to be in a position where I’ve achieved my Chief Mates license and would be working towards my Masters to become a Safety Officer. I’m also hoping to have visited at least 50 countries around the world onboard a ship! So far I’m 14 down so only another 36 to go!".