Name: Carole Jensen
Job Title: Lecturer
What year did you start at South Shields Marine School?
2010-2013 as a cadet
2019 as a lecturer
How did you start your training?
I’ve always had a connection to ships growing up; my dad was a draughtsman at Smiths Dock in Middlesbrough and my parents volunteered at the South Tees Mission to Seafarer’s for many years. I used to go with them to visit many different ships and crews around Middlesbrough. When I was 20, I got a job as a port agent on the River Tees. It was this experience especially which encouraged me to pursue a career in the Merchant Navy. When I was 21 I saw an advert on TV about an open day at the Marine School and I knew I had to visit. I met so many different shipping companies and was inspired by the whole experience. I applied to a few companies and was fortunate to be offered an ETO cadetship with Carnival UK.
What company did you work for before transiting into teaching?
I’ve had a couple of jobs since leaving the sea. I worked for Carnival UK until I left the sea in 2016. I then went on to work as a Test Technician for Hitachi Rail for just short of year before transiting into teaching at Middlesbrough College. There I taught level 2 electrical workshop and level 3 electrical engineering. Though I enjoyed it, when I saw a vacancy at the Marine School I knew that was where I really wanted to teach and so didn’t hesitate to apply.
How does it feel to be back working as a lecturer as opposed to studying?
It feels great! I had such an enjoyable time at the Marine School as a cadet and the lecturers who taught me were fantastic. Many of them are still here and to now call them my colleagues feels amazing. I’m really looking forward to teaching and being able to share my experiences from sea with students and being able to hear about their experiences too.
What do you love most about South Shields Marine School?
The atmosphere. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming. There’s also a real sense of pride at the Marine School and the dedication and commitment from both staff and students really shines through.
What active roles have you took part in to promote maritime as a career choice for women?
In my last job I spoke regularly to female students about the maritime industry as a career option. I’ve always been very open and honest about my personal experiences of working at sea and have encouraged them to research more about it, as many are unaware of the excellent opportunities which are out there.
How would you describe working at sea?
I really enjoyed my time at sea and have many fantastic memories. It was very challenging at times and it did require a lot of commitment and dedication but at the same time, the experience provided me with so many life skills which I am truly thankful for. I learned so much and had responsibility from day one. No two days were the same as an ETO, it was the variety which I really enjoyed - I could be fixing a lift one moment then repairing equipment in a galley or on the Bridge the next. I was also fortunate to meet many fantastic people, as crew we were like one big family chipping in and working together.
What would you say to others who are considering a career at sea?
Go for it! You’ve got nothing to lose by applying and you never know where it may take you. When I was younger I would never have thought I could be an ETO travelling the world on cruise ships – and yet it happened! Also, do your research and if you can, speak to people who have been to sea, the more information you have the easier it’ll be to make an informed decision. Going to sea does require hard work, and it is a lifestyle choice rather than a job, but it is also incredibly rewarding.