My name is Matt Banks and I’m the first Trinity House Deck Cadet, part sponsored by the Jubilee Sailing Trust. Joining the Merchant Navy has always been a life-long dream of mine. My father was a Deck Officer in the Merchant Navy on a P&O vessel, the SS.Canberra, and after hearing his exciting tales of working in the industry, I soon set my sights on becoming a Deck Officer myself.

I chose to apply to the Trinity House cadet scheme both for the history and heritage of the company, but also for the exciting seagoing opportunities. With Trinity House’s unique programme, you are able to gain experience on a variety of different ships, rather than one section of the industry.

After successfully making it through the application, I started as a Deck Cadet at Warsash Maritime Academy (WMA) on the 7th of September. My first week was an introduction week which consisted of welcoming talks that introduce you into the way of life as a cadet and hearing from people already in the industry. I also took part in some great social events like a day out paint-balling, and going out for drinks at the local pubs in the Southampton area.

The first phase of my training consists of Navigation, Ship Operations and Maritime Analytical Methods. These are taught until December, and then we will sit our exams. After Christmas we’ll take part in a series of short courses such as Basic Fire Fighting, Efficient Deckhand, Entry into Enclosed Spaces Familiarisation and more.

After I’ve completed these courses I’ll be off to sea to join SV.Tenacious for 6 weeks, something I’m really looking forward to! This is where I’ll be able to put all I’ve learnt in the classroom to practice. I’ll then move onto the other ships for the remainder of my sea-based training (these are yet to be confirmed).

Overall I’ve settled really well into cadet life at Warsash. I’ve made lots of great friends already and get along really well with my cabin mate. I’ve been wanting to come here for such a long time, so now it’s finally happening I couldn’t be happier! It really is a relief to have finally got to where I am after gearing my whole life and education towards securing a place and career in the Merchant Navy.