Maritime careers

One of the most important things a union can do is help its members develop their careers, and Nautilus does this in many ways – from running a scholarship scheme for officer training to publishing job advertisements.

We also work with partners to encourage British and Dutch schoolchildren to take up maritime careers, playing our part in maintaining the health of our national shipping industries. All our work around maritime careers is detailed below.

Nautilus International Jobs

Nautilus International Jobs is a fully searchable jobs site that provides a quick and easy way to find your next post in the maritime sector. The site is a public site that's open to all maritime job searchers. Users of the site can sign up for up to five alerts and apply for jobs online. Our flagship magazine, the Nautilus Telegraph, also includes job advertisements.

Slater Fund

The JW Slater Fund offers substantial financial awards to help British ratings, electrotechnical officers and yacht crew study for a first certificate of competency. The money can be used towards the costs of any necessary full or part-time education and to provide some financial support during college phases for those off pay.

Named in honour of former MNAOA (a predecessor union to Nautilus International) general secretary John Slater, the awards are made to selected UK-resident applicants aged 20 or over. More than 1,400 Slater Fund awards have been made by the Union since the scheme was launched in 1977.

The Slater Fund is administered on behalf of Nautilus by the Marine Society, an educational charity for seafarers. Find out more – and get your application started – on the Marine Society's Slater Scholarships page.

Nautical college visits

It’s a sad fact that some maritime careers never really get off the ground because cadets don’t complete their training. Sometimes this is because life onboard ship is unexpectedly challenging for them, or they don’t know how to get help if they run into difficulties.

To address this issue, Nautilus visits numerous nautical colleges in the UK and the Netherlands to talk to new maritime students about the realities of life at sea. We talk students through what to expect from their first sea phases – with our Union organiser often accompanied by a young Nautilus member who has been through the process and made it through to qualification as an officer of the watch.

They answer the questions that many young people will have, such as what to pack for a four-month trip, what sort of tasks they might be expected to undertake on that first voyage and importantly, who they can turn to if things don’t quite turn out as expected. Trainees are also encouraged to join the Young Maritime Professionals Forum, as an ongoing source of peer support. To find out more about the YMPF (which is open to all Nautilus members under 35), contact

Careers at Sea Ambassadors

The UK-based Careers at Sea Ambassadors scheme was launched in 2008 by the UK Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB), Nautilus and the Marine Society. Administered by the MNTB, the scheme encourages British seafarers to attend careers fairs or give careers presentations at their local schools and youth groups.

The volunteer Ambassadors are supplied with materials needed to run a careers stand, such as banners, leaflets and pens to hand out to the schoolchildren. If giving a careers talk, Ambassadors are offered a multimedia Careers at Sea presentation. Training sessions are periodically arranged by the MNTB to help new Ambassadors prepare for their school visits.

Many Nautilus members have joined the scheme. Details of how to volunteer are on the Careers at Sea website.

Zeebenen in de klas

In 2010, Nautilus helped to set up Zeebenen in de klas, a Dutch scheme encouraging seafarers to give careers presentations in their local schools. It was inspired by a successful programme run by the Dutch shipbuilding industry, in which 'ambassadors' from the workforce went into schools to inspire pupils to take up a shipbuilding career.

An important task for the original shipbuilding ambassadors was to change attitudes about a type of work often stigmatised as dirty and insecure. The seafarers' version of the scheme also seeks to show schoolchildren and their families that times have changed, explaining that the shipping industry is now hi-tech, with well-paid, highly-skilled work on offer.

Zeebenen in de klas is backed by the Dutch shipping industry’s labour market task force, a joint venture between shipowners and unions. The scheme has a dedicated coordinator who matches up each volunteer with a school and supplies materials for the presentation. The target age for Zeebenen in de klas presentations is 10-13 years old.

Numerous Nautilus members have volunteered as ambassadors since seeing the scheme advertised in the Nautilus Telegraph. There’s more information on the Zeebenen website or email

Sea Vision

Nautilus is a partner in Sea Vision, the ongoing UK campaign to enthuse the young people of today about the maritime opportunities of tomorrow. Interest in the maritime sector is promoted through educational and maritime career-related activities for British 11-to-22 year olds. Nautilus members often take part in these activities as mentors.

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