I read your article 'Tip of the iceberg' by Helen Kelly about cadets being let go by their sponsor companies due to Covid complications. I too was let go last year from my sponsor in my second phase, before I could go to sea. Thankfully, with help from your colleagues in the Union, I got a sponsor again after a period with the same training provider.
My question is about the SMarT funding. My original sponsor might have ran out of being funded towards the end of my cadetship, correct? But now would it be covered?
I also don’t understand the incentive for a new sponsor to take me on. Would they get the full funding? Would they get funding after I finish as I’ve started late? It was made more unclear as to why they would take me on as other training providers, even MEF how did have a recommencement scheme, would not take on someone who had already started their cadetship.
I appreciate this subject being covered, even if it means that others had to go through it too. Also, that cadets are firmly being listened to is great too.
Membership no 1213016
Nautilus Professional and Technical Officer David Appleton responds:
Under normal circumstances, the funding that a company receives for sponsoring a cadet under the Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) Scheme is made up of 150 weekly payments plus a payment upon completion. As you were released by your previous company in Phase 2, it would suggest that this was not the reason for their decision.
The 150-week funding limit applies to the individual, so although a company will be able to claim SMarT funding for a cadet who moves company for the part of their training that they have not yet completed, it is not possible to claim any funding for any part of the course that has to be repeated. This is why cadets who have had to suspend their studies part way through an academic phase through illness or any other reason often have difficulties finding a company willing to take them on.
Recognising that the fallout from the Covid-19 crisis was likely to result in a large number of cadets exceeding the 150-week funding period, Nautilus, the Merchant Navy Training Board and the UK Chamber of Shipping successfully lobbied the government to allow extensions to funding for cadets who had not been able to complete in time for reasons related to the pandemic. A maximum of six months' extension is available for each cadet currently in the system, up to and including cadets enrolled in March 2021. Companies wishing to take advantage of this extension are required to make applications to the MCA, which will be considered on a case by case basis.
Full details are available in the M-notice MIN 624 on the Gov.UK website.