Student’s Guide in Entering a Seafarers Cadetship Program

by | Last updated Nov 24, 2023 | Career Guide, Scholarships | 0 comments

Are you an aspiring seafarer looking to kick-start your career in the maritime industry? If so, then entering a cadetship program might be the perfect opportunity for you. However, the application process is not a walk in the park. In fact, it’s a challenging journey unlike any other. 

In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on entering a cadetship program for seafarers, drawing from my own personal experience during the application process.

This guide will walk you through the various stages of entering the program, from understanding the application requirements to preparing for the rigorous assessments and interviews. 

We will provide you with valuable insights, tips, and strategies to increase your chances of success. So, let’s embark on this exciting journey together and pave the way for a promising career in the maritime industry.

What is a seafarer’s cadetship program?

A seafarer’s cadetship program is a specialized training program designed to prepare aspiring individuals for a career in the maritime industry. It is an entry-level training initiative that provides a structured pathway for individuals to develop the necessary skills and knowledge required to become successful seafarers.

The cadetship program typically combines theoretical classroom-based education with practical hands-on training. This allows cadets to gain a comprehensive understanding of various aspects of seafaring including navigation, ship operations, engineering, safety protocols, and maritime regulations.

One of the significant advantages of a cadetship program is that it often includes a scholarship or financial support, which covers the cost of education and training. This makes it an attractive option for individuals who aspire to pursue a career at sea since the cost of becoming a seaman is quite expensive.

Maritime cadets listening to a discussion of their instructor.

How to join a cadetship training program for seafarers

Now that you have a fair idea of what a seafarer’s cadetship training program is, let’s talk about how to join them. Like I said, it’s not a walk in the park and if you tried college entrance exams with other courses from other schools, this one is different.

Every year, many students apply for this program because let’s admit it, the scholarships and the chance to immediately work on board and become an officer is just too tempting. But you have to pass the series of exams first. It’s not just two or three exams but a lot more.

Let’s carry on.

1. Fill up the application form

Basic. Everything starts here and once done, you can proceed to the next one.

2. Take the written exam

This exam covers the subjects of Math, Science, English, and Inductive Reasoning.

3. Take the computer-based exam

The computer-based exam is about IQ Test and ability profiling (Apro test).

4. Take the physical exam

During our time, we had some exercise to test our endurance. This is also a preview of what lies ahead once you are absorbed in the cadetship program.

5. Face-to-face interview with the “top brass”

After passing all the hurdles above, you will have the chance to be interviewed by the top brass running the program. Some of them are master mariners and chief engineers. Be sure to polish your English before meeting them

6. Pass the medical examination

Lastly, the medical exam is the final barrier before you enter the program. But don’t worry, as you don’t need to study anything. The exam will focus on determining if your audiovisual senses are healthy and that you are not color-blind, as well as communicable diseases such as Hepatitis B.

Students doing radar plotting as part of their training in the cadetship program.

What if you fail the exams above?

The selection process is very tough and designed to filter out the cream of the crop among the applicants. It is unavoidable that many will fail during each stage of the exams. But there is still a chance.

If you fail in any of the application phases except the medical exam, you will still have a chance to apply again after one year. But if losing a year seems to take too much of your time, there are still other ways.

The Norwegian Shipowner’s Association is not the only scholarship in town. You can apply to other maritime scholarships in the country, which also offer full scholarships to deserving students.

You can try and enroll in the honor’s class program, which is a category just below the scholars. The honor’s class programs are for students who performed well during the application process but failed somewhere along the way. We can expect them to be good at their academic performance.

However, they are not under any scholarships. But if they show promising grades, they may be absorbed in the cadetship program and earn a scholarship for the remaining years.

Some honor’s class students also have the chance to take application exams to prospective companies looking for cadets outside the scholarship program.

Acceptance and initiation

Your acceptance to the program marks the beginning of a cadet’s training. Initially, you will perform some strenuous exercise that will make you break a sweat and get your shirts dirty with mud and filth. This also marks the separation from your parents. You will be housed in a dormitory during the whole cadetship program.

The initiation phase is designed to familiarize you with the maritime industry, the program’s requirements, and the expectations placed upon the cadets. It sets the foundation for your future development as a seafarer. Furthermore, it prepares you for the challenges you will encounter throughout your career.

During this phase, cadets undergo a series of orientation sessions, workshops, and practical exercises. You will receive essential information about the program structure and curriculum. You will also learn about the program’s rules, regulations, and the importance of safety protocols.

Maintaining grades

Since the program sets high academic standards, cadets are expected to excel in their studies. This means that there are maintaining grades that you must religiously follow. It’s part of being a scholar that you must embrace throughout the program.

Cadets must prioritize their academic responsibilities and allocate sufficient time for studying and completing assignments. Diligence, discipline, and a strong work ethic are necessary to maintain good grades throughout the program. 

Cadets in their exercise attire while in the formation.

Semi-military training

One of the hardest and toughest parts of being part of this cadetship program is the semi-military. You will undergo some of the most strenuous exercises that will test the mettle of your physical strength, willpower, tenacity, discipline, and determination.

This training is also designed to promote camaraderie with all your batchmates and classmates since you’ll be doing the exercises together. Also, expect formations and marching like ROTC but practiced every day.

The exercise regime starts at 4 am in the morning and ends somewhere at 10pm or midnight every day. Within the day, you will be normally going to classes and doing the academic part of the program.

Since a semi-military regime is implemented, you are assured that no physical contact is made by your seniors.

What if you get expelled?

The cadetship program has rules to follow and obey to the heart. It’s very rare that someone gets expelled, and it’s actually a big blow to the project, his batch mates, and the top brass.

The most common reason why some students get expelled is alcohol and AWOL or absence without official leave. If you are caught drunk while inside the dormitory premises, this is very bad for you. Worse is if you start making trouble.

Mustering is always made day and night. If you are not inside the dorm, during mustering, this is also a ground for eviction.

Fighting is also one, but I haven’t seen or heard of cadets kicked out due to this.

In most cases, a warning is made to the person committing the sin. But if done repeatedly, he will be stripped off of his scholarships no matter how well he performs academically. This is because discipline is put at a high pedestal in school as well as on board ships.

May the winds be in your favor.

(Image Source: 27th MMI/MMSPhil Cadetship Program – BATCH MATIKAS.)



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