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Nautilus visited Liverpool John Moores University's (LJMU) Maritime Centre, speaking with staff and students on their experiences of teaching and learning during the pandemic and the university’s offerings for those looking to further their maritime careers
Nautilus spoke with the final year cadets studying on the university's BSc Nautical Science course, which provides students with the ability to obtain their first OOW Deck qualification as well as the first step towards shore-based careers in marine surveying, ship management, consultancy, research, and maritime education.
In the next stage of their career, qualified officers can undertake an SQA (Scottish Qualification Authority) examination for chief mate and proceed to either a ship or shore-based management role.
LJMU's BSc Nautical Science and BEng (Hons) Marine and Mechanical Engineering are accredited by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency.
Access to sea time was one of the key challenges cadets faced during the pandemic with one student reporting: 'My sea time was drastically affected, and we ended up being back phased to re-join university in September rather than July. While at sea one of the best things for a cadet is the opportunity of shore leave, however on many ships this was not available throughout the contract.'
Delays were common, as one student explains: 'The main phase of the pandemic was during my time at sea. I was delayed by about four months, and due to further delays, I came back to university two weeks late to get my 12 months at sea. I have also had my final exam delayed due to the delayed sea time, which means my education period has been extended by four months.'
Students spoke favourably of changes to the learning process at LJMU during the pandemic to hybrid/remote learning.
One student said: 'Adopting the university style of less contact hours and big reliance on self-learning has been massively helpful when going to sea, as these skills transfer across very nicely.'
With one eye to the future, students reported a desire for more modern training with less of a focus on 'old technology that isn't really used anymore'.