Worcester Merchant Navy Cadet Scheme – Cadet Ella Smith

In October 2022 the Education and Charity Committee of the Shipwrights’ Company awarded a grant to Worcester Merchant Navy Cadet Scheme which has been used to support Cadet Ella Smith.  Ella has written the following report:

‘Embarking on a journey to sea as a cadet has, so far, been a transformative experience filled with challenges, rewards, self-discovery, and personal growth. An experience of which I am extremely grateful to be able to partake in thanks to The Shipwrights Company, Worcester Merchant Navy Cadet Scheme and Trinity House. In this article I will delve into my training so far, from College to my recent and ongoing contracts at sea.


February soon approached after having been accepted for my Cadetship, and it was time to begin studying at Warsash Maritime School. The lessons and learning started immediately and although fast paced, it was extremely rewarding to be broadening my knowledge and learning new things! My classmates, and I were well supported by our lecturers who prepared us in time for our first exams. Once we had received our results, we knew the time had come and that sea appointments were on the horizon.

I had previously mentioned that I wanted to sail on board a Tall Ship as part of my cadetship. To my delight, my first appointment was onboard the magnificent SV Tenacious and I was to join on the 11th of May. I had booked the earliest train ticket and made my way to Portland, with copious amount of luggage, ready to join at 9am. The experience I gained from my time on this ship has been invaluable and really shaped me as a cadet. There was no job that I wasn’t given an opportunity to try. This included partaking in and leading navigational watches and anchor watches, to taking charge of anchoring operations, and mooring manoeuvres. I was even given the opportunity to hold the con whilst we sailed off the anchor, under my command. I was under the supervision of some amazing mentors, who ensured the bridge felt like a classroom more than anything else and were keen to pass on the knowledge they possessed. The end of my contract on board Tenacious was approaching, and so I was informed I would be joining P&O’s Class 1 Passenger Vessel, Aurora on the 25th of July.

Joining day for Aurora was, as you can imagine, polar opposite to anything I had experienced on Tenacious! I was overcome with nerves and excitement. Since then, I have gained commercial experience, worked with, and been guided by some amazing seafarers, and seen some of the world’s most beautiful places. I have gained experience on the bridge, partaking in Arrivals and Departures, and have been given the privilege of holding both the nav, and the con of a 270m Vessel. We have dealt with urgent emergency procedures and had high quality training for dealing with these situations too. There has of course been highs and lows, and I can definitely say I will be ending 2023 as a completely different person. I am looking forward to resuming my studies in February and developing the knowledge I have learnt here within the classroom.

I would again like to thank my sponsors for making this opportunity possible, and I look forward to continuing my journey next year.’