Workboat operator launches Scotland’s first cadet program: ‘Training the next generation of seafarers is critical’

Editorial Staff

Inverlussa Marine Services plans to recruit up to nine cadets to support its expanding fleet.

Scottish workboat operator Inverlussa Marine Services has announced a groundbreaking initiative to recruit cadets for formal deck and engineering training.

Inverlussa Marine Services, one of Scotland’s largest privately owned shipping companies, operates a fleet of 24 modern vessels in the aquaculture sector and employs 140 people. The company operates throughout the West Coast, Orkney, and Shetland.

“I believe we are the first in the service vessel company in Scotland to recruit cadets. It’s a significant investment, but contributing to the training of the next generation of seafarers is critical,” Inverlussa CEO Ben Wilson told SalmonBusiness.

Trainees will have the opportunity to gain internationally recognized qualifications, including the Deck or Engineering Officer of the Watch Certificate (OOW), through a combination of college education and sea phases over three years.

Throughout the program, cadets will receive an allowance of £1,000 per month. Upon completion, successful cadets will be offered positions with competitive salaries and company benefits, with potential for career progression within the company up to the roles of Master or Chief Engineer.

“We’re working with Stream Marine in Glasgow and hope to use either Glasgow or a Northeast College,” Crew Coordinator Fraser McKenzie told SalmonBusiness, emphasizing the focus on recruiting from local areas like the West Coast and Shetland where Inverlussa operates.

McKenzie, who will oversee second-stage interviews, noted the importance of regular interaction with the cadets. “We’ll have myself or one of the directors down to Glasgow to check in on them regularly and make them feel part of the company,” he said.

Bigger boat

The company already receives many skilled applicants, but larger vessels require a Certificate of Competency from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), McKenzie explained.

Obtaining these certificates involves a three-year college course, making it a challenging process. “While you can work your way up, it is a very long process,” he noted.

To address this, Inverlussa aims to recruit cadets directly from schools, providing them with both certification and practical experience. “The idea is to blend the two. You get the person with the certification, but also with a background in aquaculture and hands-on experience in the engine rooms and within the work that we do,” McKenzie said.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old before January 1, 2025, and meet minimum entry requirements, including four National 5’s at grade C or above in subjects such as Maths, English, and a physical science. Higher education routes are available for those with results at or above ‘Highers’ level.

McKenzie highlighted the positive impact of hiring from rural communities, stating, “They know what our vessels do and the company, and we have people from those communities working with us. It’s really positive for the industry and for ourselves.”


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