Overview top

The Marine Engineering Pre-Cadetship is intended for those eventually seeking a cadetship with a sponsoring company but who have yet to be successful in securing a place. 

The programme will provide the knowledge and competencies required to be successful in securing a full cadetship. Learners will develop the variety of skills through visits, classroom learning and practical sessions. Learners will be encouraged to grow fully as individuals and develop excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

You will study for one year on a full time programme before progressing onto the next level, depending upon your grades and attendance, or into sponsorship.  Depending upon your entry qualifications, you may be offered one of the following study routes:


  • One year Level 2 Pre-Cadetship (Diploma in Engineering and Technology), which includes the opportunity to re-sit your GCSE in Mathematics to obtain a higher level. You may then progress onto the one year full time level 3 Pre-Cadetship (Diploma in Shipping and Maritime Operations - Engineering) with the opportunity to apply for sponsorship onto a Foundation Degree Cadetship or Advanced Certificate/Diploma. Progression onto the Level 3 is subject to achieving a grade 4, or equivalent in GCSE Mathematics, successful completion of the Level 2 and excellent attendance, and progression onto the Foundation Degree is subject to a grade 6 or equivalent in GCSE mathematics. 
  • A grade 4/C or above provides direct entry onto the one year Level 3 Pre-Cadetship (Diploma in Shipping and Maritime Operations – Engineering).

All qualifications are one year full-time study. 

Please be aware that progression into the Merchant Navy is subject to passing an ENG1 Medical. Please read the following documentation and guidance BEFORE applying for the Pre-Cadetship. The College will not assess your current fitness to work within the Merchant Navy. It is your responsibility to read the guidance to ensure that any medical conditions you may have will not limit your progression into the industry.

 - Seafarer Medical Certificates Overview

 - Seafarer Medical Certification Guidance

For further information on the course please download the Pre-Cadetship Guide.

Duration: 1 year full-time

Please note: our Pre-Cadetship programme is intended for UK students/residents. 




Entry Requirements top

Level 2 Pre-Cadetship Engineering

*4 GCSEs Grade 4 / C (including maths, English and a Science).

*If you do not have Maths and / or English, you may be able to join the course with a GCSE in Science and one or two other subjects (depending on if you require both Maths and English or just one), and you will have the opportunity to resit Maths and English while on our pre-cadetship. 

You may be considered with a GCSE Grade 3, but this will be determined on an individual basis.  

In order to gain sponsorship at the end of the programme, you will require 4 GCSEs Grade 4 / C (including maths, English and a Science). 


Professional Opportunities top

On successful completion learners will have gained nationally recognised qualifications and competencies.  Learners will be able to progress onto the Foundation Degree in Marine Engineering or the Foundation Degree in Marine Electrical / Electronics, aimed at helping students gain a full cadetship with a sponsoring company.  Learners will be expected to obtain their sponsor, although the College will provide learners with the support and guidance throughout this process.

Further Information top

Course Fees:

Aged 16-18 = free
For aged 19+ = please contact us on 0191 427 3900 for fee information.

You may also be eligible for a Further Education Loan. 
Please contact Student Finance for more information at studentfinance@tynecoast.ac.uk or by calling  0191 427 3500. 


Financial help:

Means tested financial help is available for those who live outside of the area to help towards the cost of living in halls.  This help is available to those who live more than fifteen miles away or have a two hour round trip to get here.  For more information visit - click here.


“The Merchant Navy Training Board welcomes the Pre-Cadet course at South Shields Marine School. We recognise that this programme of study will provide an insight into the Marine Engineering Industry and develop both your interpersonal skills and improved English and Maths. For those applying for a Cadetship in the Merchant Navy and the engineering and maritime experiences on this course, coupled with your academic results, will enable you to show sponsoring companies that you are serious and prepared to succeed.”Merchant Navy Training Board

“The MSA is always pleased to support initiatives designed to attract and retain new young entrants to the maritime sector. We have identified a continuing need for additional qualified marine engineers and this course provides a route into the sector, which has not previously existed. Whilst the prime aspiration may be to enter the merchant navy, completion of the course would open up a range of other opportunities for those interested in the engineering side. This includes apprenticeships to become qualified to work on fishing vessels, tugs and workboats or craft operating on rivers and inland waterways and limited distances to sea.” Maritime Skills Alliance

“Carnival UK (including Cunard and P&O Cruises) welcomes the development of a programme of study that will provide a possible entry route into the Merchant Navy. For those persons who have not yet obtained sponsorship, but who have a desire to embark on a career at sea as a marine engineer, this course could enhance both the academic and vocational skills required to achieve their goal. In addition, completion of this course will demonstrate a genuine commitment to a career in the maritime sector.” Carnival UK

Dates & Fees

Contact us for current course dates and fees.