Education & Training

The MNTB, in collaboration with the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA), have the responsibility for approving UK Cadet Officer Training programmes.

New entrant programmes have been designed to meet industry needs along with regulations laid down by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), as well as providing recognised academic national and international qualifications.  In addition, the programmes are underpinned by, and referenced to, the industry’s National Occupational Standards.

National Occupational Standards (NOS) describe the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to undertake a particular task or job to a nationally recognised level of competence.  They are used for a wide range of workforce development purposes, including:

  • developing recruitment criteria and job descriptions;
  • as performance management tools and within performance appraisal processes;
  • identifying training needs;
  • developing training programmes and training interventions;
  • developing qualifications of all types – vocational, academic and professional.

A suite of National Occupational Standards (NOS) covering a range of seagoing roles in the deck and engineer departments of merchant ships, harbour tugs and fishing vessels has been developed through the Maritime Skills Alliance (MSA).  There is a direct relationship between STCW 95 standards and NOS covering Merchant Navy roles.

The Maritime NOS suite has been developed to cover functions for:

Safety and management (series A)

Navigation and vessel operations (series B)

Engineering (series C)

Fishing (series D)

Specialist vessels and operations (series E)

Nautical colleges and universities involved in seafarer education and training develop their own programmes to meet these requirements and seek formal approval of them by the MNTB and Maritime Coastguard Agency.

There are a number of colleges and universities around the UK and Ireland that provide seafarer education and training programmes and courses aimed at both new entrants to the industry and experienced seafarers at all levels. The range of programmes and courses is wide and varied. The MNTB works closely with the colleges and universities and with the International Association of Maritime Institutions (IAMI).

Useful Links:

> City of Glasgow College
> Fleetwood Nautical Campus, Blackpool & the Fylde College
> Humber Maritime College
> Liverpool John Moores University
> Lowestoft Campus, East Coast College
>National Maritime Training Centre, North Kent College
> Scottish Maritime Academy, North East Scotland College (NESCOL)
> Shetland School of Nautical Studies (NAFC)
>Solent University Southampton (Warsash Maritime Academy)
> South Shields Marine School, Tyne Coast College
> University of Plymouth

Officer cadet programmes are available for Navigational, Engineering and Electro-Technical specialisms.

Training standards and frameworks provide the basis of the officer cadet programmes. Programmes are available for a range of entry routes for those wishing to become Merchant Navy officers to gain their Officer of the Watch (OOW), Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOOW) or Electro-Technical certification. The levels of academic study include Higher National Certificate, Higher National Diploma, Advanced Certificate, Advanced Diploma, Foundation Degree, Scottish Professional Diploma and Bachelors Degree.

All programmes consist of alternating periods at college/university and sea.

Please click on the following link for further information:

Click here to download the officer cadet training standards, principles, requirements and approval criteria document

An apprenticeship is a job with training. Apprentices learn and train to gain qualifications and skills whilst working and earning a wage. Employing an apprentice is just like employing any other member of staff. 

There are a range of apprenticeships for Able Seafarer (Deck), Able Seafarer (Engine), Maritime Caterer and Onboard Service ratings. These are available in England and as modern apprenticeships in Scotland. Other Rating training is available to cover various aspects of support roles.

Find out more on the Careers at Sea Website Ratings – Careers At Sea