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Possibly useful qualities/interests:

A predisposition towards technical problems, such as puzzles or machinery. An interest in the nature of how things work, such as the desire to disassemble machinery/gadgetry to unlock its inner workings.

An inventive side; one who uses the parts of other gadgets, to make a new personalised gadget. Interested in high tech gear: gadgetry of all forms.

A capacity to learn processes for oneself e.g. seeing a puzzle solved and then repeating it.

Skills: Technical subjects such as Maths or electronics. Programming is very accessible to anyone with a basic home PC and some internet connection so try it out and see if you like it.

Values: If you value the solving of an intricate, convoluted problem, for it's own sake and find that rewarding, then any engineering job will come easily.

Education: Firm basis in Maths and the sciences. People are hired into engineering positions here from backgrounds such as science and computing primarily.


The Social person's interests focus on some aspect of those people in their environment. In all cases the social person enjoys the personal contact of other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people, and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
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Occupation Details

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Cadet - Merchant Navy

Job Zone

Most occupations in this zone require job specific training (vocational training) related to the occupation (NFQ Levels 5 and 6 or higher), related on-the-job experience, or a relevant professional award.

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At a Glance... header image

A trainee working towards a career as an officer at sea with the merchant navy.

The Work header image

Not be confused with the Naval Forces that forms part of the Irish Defence Forces, the Merchant Navy is the name given to those who work in commercial shipping.

The Merchant navy broadly includes non-military sailing vessels such as:

Container Ships - Ranging from small feeder ships trading between islands to some of the biggest ships in the world, containerisation revolutionised the shipping industry - it’s thanks to the container industry that we have so many goods in our high street shops.

Tankers - Carry oil, fuel, gas and chemicals around the world. 

Bulk Carriers - Bring coal, grain, ores and other powdered substances to our shores.

Ferries - From the small inter island ferries providing a vtransportation links to our island communities to the massive sea going ferries providing links to the continent for cars, trucks and passengers.

Cruise Ships - The age old days of crossing the atlantic or traveling to the other side of the world on ships was wiped out over night by the advent of air travel. The industry was quick to change into traveling for pleasure and the cruise industry continues to grow carrying holiday makers to distant shores around the world.

Off Shore Support - large oil fields in the North Sea are supported by a fleet of vessels, providing survey, construction and crew / supply transfers to the oil and gas industry. Many of these companies also supply similar services to oil fields around the world in exotic locations such as Brazil, Caribbean and Australia.

There are many other types of vessel, from cable and pipe line laying to survey and fishery protection vessels.

This is is an international industry, encompassing a wide range of companies which provide some great career opportunities.

Cadet is the title used within the industry for a trainee officer. It’s one of the main starting points in a career as an officer at sea. Cadets attend nautical college and spend their time split between learning academic subjects at college and putting what they’ve learned into practice at sea in the real world.

Similar to an apprenticeship, your training costs may be paid by your sponsor company and they give you a small salary while you’re training.

Tasks & Activities

Cadets join the vessel as an additional member of the crew. You will typically spend time initially working with either the deck or engine ratings. This provides experience of how things are done onboard and introduces you to the variety of tasks that need to be carried out.

Typical tasks for Deck Cadets include:

  • Chipping and painting - banging rust off the decks and repainting it
  • Assisting with mooring operations (tying the ship up to the dock)
  • Helping with cargo loading / unloading,
  • Helping the officers with their paperwork and
  • Other non watch keeping tasks.

They may also spend a little time on the bridge.

Cadets are being trained to high standard in Ireland to meet the future needs of the shipping industry.

Irish Deck Cadets study for a BSc. In Nautical Science. This degree course is designed for those who wish to pursue a career as a Deck Officer aboard ship, providing a comprehensive education in navigation and other ship board activities.


Entry Routesheader image

Irish Deck Cadets can study for an NFQ Level 6 Higher Certificate in Nautical Studies at the NMCI  See DT-189

There is also a Level 7 BSc degree course in Nautical Science at CIT designed for those who wish to pursue a career as a Deck Officer aboard ship, providing a comprehensive education in navigation and other ship board activities. See CR094

Detailed information is available on the National Maritime College website

Last Updated: July, 2015

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Merchant Navy Cadet - from:  Irish Maritime Development Office

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Contactsheader image


Organisation: National Maritime College of Ireland
  Address: Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork
  Tel: (021) 497 0600
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: IMDO Irish Maritime Development Office
  Address: Wilton Park House, Wilton Place D02 NT99, Dublin 2, Ireland
  Tel: (01) 7753900
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Maritime, Fishing & Aquaculture

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