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Day Work / Shift work - Engineering


Can anyone please tell me what the shift pattern is like for an Apprentice Engineering Technician / Motorman / and ETO when onboard a ship?

Are these roles on watches a lot, or mostly day shift?

I have worked at sea in the past in the deck department. So have had to do 4 on 8 off watches. I don't mind this for a bit but wouldn't want to be doing if for months on end. I'd really prefer to be mostly on day work.

I'm currently in the application process for Apprentice Eng Tech, and thinking I'll work towards gaining my ETO CoC (I already have an engineering degree). I applied for the ETO cadetship last year but didn't get in. So just trying to go the Rating route instead.

As an apprentice, you'll spend some time on watches and some time on day-work. The ratio is purely dependent on your taskbook progress and what your training manager is like (usually a PO(E)).

I'm an SE so I can't be 100% sure but in my experience (please correct me if I'm wrong), as a MM, you've got a greater chance of being on watches than not (dependent on the ship's UMS status etc.), however there are day work positions. As a LH(E) you will almost never be watchkeeping (but this will take at least three years to reach).

From my perspective, it'll be very difficult to get onto the ETO cadetship from the position of a MM, until you reach the position of LH (SE), where there are RTO (rating to officer) opportunities. However, I believe the caveat is that you have to spend at least 12 months on ship in an SE billet. There are a few (read as: very few) MM (SE) positions but the vast number of SE rating positions begin at LH(SE). As an SE rating you will be on day work although you may end up in the Standing Sea Emergency Party (SSEP- initial damage control team when at sea). All SEs are day work (I've only spent about a week's worth of time watchkeeping as a 3/O SE; during acoustic/ magnetic trials and when shit really hit the fan...).

The way I see it, you have a few options:
1. Complete an ETO cadetship with another company (there are plenty out there; Carnival are advertising at the moment) and then, if you really want, transfer over. Other companies may take you on as a fast-track ETO cadet...
2. Complete an HNC/HND in electrical engineering through night classes or similar, then apply as a lateral entry 3/O SE. They will support you in getting your ETO CoC when you're a 3/O SE.
3. Join as an ME officer on the fast-track Cadetship (although you will end up as duty engineer and be watchkeeping until the rank of 2/O E) which is approx. 12 months for those with a degree and get your engineering ticket. You could always ask to transfer from here but I don't think there's a precedent of this.
4. Join as a MM and then go RTO (this will probably take the longest).

Out of interest, what subject is your degree in? Is it electrical? If it is, I'd ask the RFA to take you on as a 3/O SE lateral entry.
Hi Jago, that's great. Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a detailed response! Very much appreciated :) I'll definitely be looking into some of the points you make.

My degree is in petroleum engineering. It's more mechanical based (was accredited by IMechE), although I have done a couple of electrical courses during and after my degree. The recruiting team have actually been asking about my electrical courses and they are currently being reviewed by a subject matter expert. They said there was another role which they could potentially discuss with me. So with any luck it will be for direct entry to a SE role. I'll speak to them about this anyway.

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