Success at an SSTG Interview to pursue a Career at Sea.

The following guidance has been prepared for candidates whose applications are being considered by SSTG, and should be read by every candidate who is invited to attend an interview.

Where will my interview be held?

Most interviews are carried out at our office in Rochester, Kent. Our full address and travel directions can be downloaded here.

What time should I plan to arrive for the interview?

You will have received confirmation of the date and time of your interview by e-mail following discussion of appointments available by telephone. You are required to make your own travel arrangements to ensure you arrive at our office shortly before the appointed time.

We expect all candidates to arrive on time although we appreciate that occasionally delays with public transport do occur. If you find yourself running late for whatever reason, every endeavour should be made to let us know by telephone (Tel: 01634 820 820).

If you do arrive in Rochester earlier than your appointment time, you are welcome to present yourself at the reception area to inquire if your interview can be brought forward. We try to be flexible in this respect but no guarantee can be given.

Will I be reimbursed reasonable travel expenses for attending the interview?

All candidates invited to attend a ‘first’ interview with SSTG will have reasonable travel expenses reimbursed following the interview. This will normally be the cost of public transport or, if travelling by car, a mileage allowance calculated at 20p per mile. Candidates should ensure that the most reasonable mode of transport is identified and steps taken to obtain the cheapest fare available. Booking tickets early, particularly flights, will usually ensure the cheapest fare is obtained. Retain all receipts as these will need to accompany your claim for reimbursement. If you are in any doubt kindly contact the SSTG Recruitment Officer before confirming any arrangements.

The amount authorised will be transferred directly into your bank account. Please complete the ‘Bank Details’ form supplied with your interview confirmation e-mail and bring the completed form when you attend the interview.

How can I best prepare for the interview?

If you are to be successful you will need to demonstrate during the selection process that you know something about the career you are applying for and have the necessary motivation to undertake the training as well as the aptitude to succeed.

Take the necessary time to study our website. Information is provided on the range of programme options, the entry requirements and background information on what the role of a Deck, Engineer or ETO officer in the Merchant Navy involves. However, you need to do more than just read the content. You need to evaluate why you consider you would be suitable for the post applied for, and how you might demonstrate why you would suit a career in the Merchant Navy. For example, do you realise the implications of living and working on board ship and how would you cope with the time away from family and friends.

What should I wear to the interview?

You should remember that the Merchant Navy is a disciplined service and many companies will expect you to wear a uniform with pride at appropriate times. Look smart and present yourself in a manner befitting a representative of their organisation.

Whilst we do not expect you to present yourself for interview in a designer suit, or even buy a jacket if you do not already own one, we do expect you to be smartly presented and make a good first impression.

Do I get any choice on the ships I can train on or the College I will attend?

Yes and you will need to give some prior consideration to the type of ship you would prefer to serve on and the college you would like to attend as your preferences will be discussed at interview. Please bear in mind however that at certain times of the recruitment cycle there will be less choice than at other times. You should also realise that some companies offer fewer opportunities and some vessel types are more popular with candidates than others. This will influence how likely it is that we will be able to consider your application for your first choice of ship type. Opportunities will vary for ETO Officer Cadets, Engineer Officer Cadets and Deck Officer Cadets.

Similar considerations apply to the college you would like to attend with different training establishments offering different entry levels and start dates.

What should I bring to the interview?

The following is a checklist of the items you are expected to bring to the interview:

  • Your passport. Please bring the original document which we need to sight, together with a copy for our file.
  • Evidence of residency in the UK. This should be an official letter showing your home address, and could be a bank statement, correspondence from your school or former employer, etc.
  • National Insurance number or other official confirmation of your NI number; please bring the original document which we need to sight, together with a copy for our file.
  • Your original academic qualification certificates. Please bring the original documents which we need to sight, together with copies for our files.
  • Two personal references. Please bring the original documents which you may retain, together with copies for our files.
  • Two passport photographs.
  • Bank details form duly completed.

Also, the following items, if applicable:

  • A Discharge Book.
  • Eng 1 Merchant Navy Medical Certificate.
  • Merchant Navy certification previously obtained.
  • Documentation relating to marine training previously completed.

How long should I allow for the interview?

The standard SSTG interview will usually take up to two hours but for most applicants the interview time is likely to be a little shorter than this.

What should I expect?

The interview will be carried out by one of our recruitment team with the aim of finding out more about you as a person, your qualifications and previous experience and the reasons why you would like to be considered for a career at sea.

At the same time the interviewer is trying to assess whether you have the academic aptitude to succeed, the personal qualities to cope with a lifestyle at sea and the motivation and determination to see through a three year training programme.

Why will I be asked to sign a declaration confirming the information provided about previous education undertaken and any police cautions or convictions?

Under government funding rules the cost of undertaking a higher education course or degree programme can be considerably more for candidates undertaking a second qualification at the same, or lower level, to a previous qualification already held.

We need to identify the actual cost of the sponsorship you may be offered in advance and are unlikely to be able to cover any tuition fees at the full economic rate.

Candidates completing sea service as part of their training will often be required to meet the visa requirements for any country that the ships operated by their sponsoring company are likely to visit or transit past. Cautions or Convictions can affect an individual’s likelihood of obtaining visas from certain countries and any such difficulties need to be identified at the time of application so that you will only be considered by companies where this will not be an issue.

Will I be advised the result of the interview before I leave the office?

No. The sponsorship you are seeking will typically be a package worth in excess of £50,000 which is a considerable investment. We will therefore need to carefully assess over the days following your interview the attributes demonstrated during the interview process before making a final decision.

Why might I not be offered sponsorship?

Even good candidates may not be offered sponsorship at the end of this process. We only have limited funds and training places available and we may not be able to offer you sponsorship for any number of reasons.

We recruit candidates on behalf of a wide range of companies and whilst this widens the number of opportunities which you could be considered for not every company will wish to sponsor candidates on every programme, at every college, or on any particularly intake.

Every candidate who is not offered sponsorship is welcome to reapply after six months, although no guarantee can be given that the result of their application will be any different.

Has this guide been useful?

We hope it has and for candidates who take the required time to prepare we do not expect the process to be too daunting.

Whether you obtain sponsorship from SSTG or choose to pursue an alternative career, we wish you every success for the future.