Access to Merchant Navy Cadetship SCQF 5 (Stornoway) NQ

What is special about this course?

The UK shipping industry is projected to double in size in the next 15 years, and relies on recruiting highly motivated young people to operate and manage the wide range of ship types that trade on a worldwide basis.

Currently, the minimum standard required by the Shipping industry for access to Deck and Engineering Officer Cadetships are four National 5 qualifications (equivalent to Standard Grade Credit or Intermediate 2) which must include Maths, English and a science subject, preferably Physics.

The purpose of this training programme is to provide candidates with these qualifications and help prepare them for a career at sea, by providing them with additional basic skills and qualifications, including Chartwork, Seamanship, Basic Sea Survival, First Aid, Health & Safety, and an introduction to the maritime industry.

Entry requirements

Requirements for entry to the course are three National 4 awards and one National 5 award in any of the following subjects:

  • Mathematics
  • English
  • Science (Physics, Engineering Science, Chemistry or Biology)
  • One other relevant subject

(We would recommend Physics for prospective Desk Officers, but Engineering Science is acceptable for future Engineering/Electro-Technical Officers).

We will continue to assess older applicants who have left school, who may be considering a second career, on an individual basis

This course is open to both male and female students.

All candidates will be required to meet the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (ENG 1) merchant navy medical, and eyesight standards, prior to being accepted for a future Merchant Navy cadetship.

Applicants will be interviewed prior to acceptance on the course.


  • Chartwork 1
  • Chartwork 2
  • Seamanship 1
  • Induction to the Merchant Navy
  • Safety and Survival at Sea 1
  • Safety and Survival at Sea 2
  • First Aid At Sea
  • Including STCW First Aid, P.S.S.R. & P.S.T. Certificates
  • Guidance will be provided in interview techniques, and C.V. building.
  • National 5 Maritime Skills*
  • Seamanship: An Introduction
  • Maritime Environment: An Introduction
  • Small Boat Engineering
  • Health and Safety in the Maritime Sector
  • Employability Skills and Careers in the Maritime Sector
  • National 5 Mathematics*
  • National 5 Physics*
  • National 5 English*

*Any National 5 qualifications already achieved prior to enrolment on the course would not have to be repeated.

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time

Teaching is primarily classroom-based, with additional practical training including sea survival techniques, first aid and boat handling skills.

How long will my course last?

1 Year

Where can I study my course?

    • Stornoway

Start date



Find out more about fees, fee waivers and funding options.

What can I do on completion of my course?

On successful completion of the Access to Merchant Navy Cadetships course and, after a successful introductory interview with a sponsoring Company, you will have the opportunity to start a full Cadetship, specialising either as a Deck Officer, or Engineering Officer.

Progression is available through a number of Colleges throughout the U.K.

The Merchant Navy Training Board provides more information on future career development online at

Is there more information available online?

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“I have secured a cadetship with Fischer Shipping thanks to the Access to Merchant Navy course. I would recommend it to anyone trying to get a start in the industry.”

Ciaran Westerman

“Thanks to the Access to Merchant Navy course I secured a cadetship with Northern Marine Management which is sponsored by Stena Marine Management. A great opportunity.”

Jack Buchannan

“Having spent more than 20 years at sea, sailing all over the world, with many nationalities, I found the experiences that I gathered along the way were invaluable. As an introduction to a life at sea the Access to Merchant Navy Cadetships course is unparalleled.”

Alistair Macleod, course lecturer.

Apply for Access to Merchant Navy Cadetship SCQF 5 (Stornoway) NQ

I want to start in 2024/25

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at UHI North, West and Hebrides. UHI North, West and Hebrides operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.