The Stolt Tankers’ Cadetship Programme is developed to provide a sustainable supply of young, well-trained and qualified officers for Stolt ships, officers with leadership and managerial potential. The programme underpins our long-term manning strategy and recruitment efforts, and supports our ‘from the cradle’ approach in developing Stolt Tankers officers. We select candidates at a very early stage and train them from basic levels up through officer rank. We operate in a niche market, in a very sophisticated, regulated and demanding industry. Officers meeting our needs are not readily available in the employment market. Instead, we provide a full career experience, with officers starting their professional lives as Stolt cadets and moving up through the ranks in a disciplined promotion process.
For example in the Philippines, where students are spending three years in academies before they embark for their first sea-time periods. The shipboard familiarization training concept was introduced so cadets could gain experience of life at sea earlier, so first-year cadets/academy students predominate. Before joining the ship, they receive shoreside training and lectures. There is a five-day schedule of onboard activities, using the local training ship TS Kapitan Felix Oca. During these days the ship covers more than 500 nautical miles - sailing from Manila to Coron, then on to Boracay and finally back to Manila.
Cadets gain hands-on knowledge by attending safety familiarization and drills, participating in watchkeeping routines and observing shipboard equipment and basic operations, which otherwise they would know only from an academic, theoretical side. Cadets also attend lectures, and receive skills training and assessments. Drills and training are conducted by Stolt seagoing officers, engineers and bosuns; the programme is based on Stolt ‘best practices’ and serves to enforce Stolt safety and environmental policies from the start.
To take a step back from this, how are these promising cadets - and those in other countries - first selected? They are sourced from leading maritime universities; our selection processes include test of physical and mental abilities, psychological profiling, knowledge assessments and structured interviews. A rigorous selection process up front ensures strong loyalty and lower employee turnover later on, the creation of a sustainable Company safety and environmental compliance culture, and controlled talent development and retention.
The seagoing part of training is divided into two stages. First is the cadet assignment - an initial 12 months of sea practice split between a minimum of two ship assignments, regulated under the STCW Convention and national maritime administrations. Second is the officer trainee assignment for a minimum of four months, during which time additional skill-based training is provided and final promotion recommendation is earned. Onboard training gives our cadets and trainees the experience of different ship types and trading areas, and shapes their cultural awareness and recognition of a variety of onboard management practices.
Stolt Tankers spends one-third of its training and development resources - on its Cadetship Programme, irrespective of cyclical markets or freight rates. The results of that investment are clearly seen in our many senior officers, and majority of junior officers, who started as our cadets. This commitment delivers continuity and succession, leading to superior operational performance, customer satisfaction and ultimately competitive advantage for Stolt Tankers. We operate our Cadetship Programme in all countries where we source manning. The programmes differ somewhat, as maritime academies, educational curricula and national requirements also vary. But all the programmes operate towards and achieve the same goal.