Kelly


Age: 26


Current Position: Officer Cadet


Company: Royal Fleet Auxiliary


After I finished university, I spent quite a lot of time searching for the right career. I have family connections with the Merchant Navy, and thought a job that combined worldwide travel with professional qualifications was just the thing I was looking for.

My next step was to apply to the RFA to work towards becoming a Deck Officer. Because of my previous qualifications, they recommended the Foundation Degree (nautical science). It’s the kind of course that encourages you to approach learning from a more managerial standpoint.

I’ve now been to sea twice, working as a Deck Cadet on a tanker and an amphibious landing ship. Taking what I’ve learnt from the classroom to the bridge is the most rewarding thing I’ve done so far. This first-hand education has really boosted my confidence in my own abilities, because I can build on my training in a dynamic and interesting environment.

Life at sea does have its ups and downs. I’ve made some great friends, but I can sometimes find it difficult to ‘switch off’, as I never truly leave the workplace. But seeing amazing natural sights such as icebergs and marine life makes up for that. My family think my career is far from ‘run of the mill’ – particularly (in their opinion) for a female. I can’t imagine anything else I’d rather do at the moment.


Joining the Merchant Navy has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It’s allowed me to see the world in a way that a tourist can’t – and build skills that could take me anywhere.