MITAGS Apprenticeship Program Helps Address Deck Officer Shortage

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October 9, 2022

For many companies having a hard time finding quality deck officers, the Maritime Apprenticeship Program (MAP) from MITAGS is a cost-effective way to recruit and qualify new talent.

The MITAGS MAP provides a fast track to the wheelhouse for motivated men and women interested in careers aboard workboats, ferries and merchant ships. In as short as 24 months, candidates with little or no previous sea time can obtain a deck officer license and be ready to go to work.  

Now in its sixteenth year of operation, this innovative U.S. Coast Guard-approved training program focuses on the practical skills professional mariners need. It combines blocks of time in the classroom and aboard working vessels, ensuring apprentices receive plenty of real-world experience.

MITAGS is looking for Partner Companies to sponsor apprentices

The MAP currently has a large pool of qualified candidates, but not enough vessels on which to place them.  The program is dependent on vessel operators willing to accommodate apprentices during the underway part of their training, where they can see the skills they are studying in action, and learn from seasoned professionals. Does hosting an apprentice make sense for your organization? Most companies who have participated agree that working with an apprentice over a two year period is a good way to get to know the candidate, and determine if he or she will be a good “fit,” prior to making a formal job offer.

As with any hiring process, sponsor companies decide who they want to work with. As part of the application process, operators interview candidates, then select the apprentices they wish to serve on their vessels. After initial training at either the MITAGS 

“It is our contention that graduates of the MITAGS program entering our fleet may be the most well-rounded and thoroughly prepared mates available to the industry.”

Dale Sause, Sause Brothers 

East or West Coast Campus, apprentices report to their assigned vessels.  There they observe and gain practical experience, but do not take the place of crew required by the vessel’s Certificate of Inspection. While companies are expected to pay a training wage to apprentices, there is no obligation to hire them once they complete the program. In actual practice, however, virtually all program graduates do go to work for their sponsors.  The company knowledge they have gained and the relationships they have formed put them in an excellent position to move forward and serve effectively from the day they are hired.  Today, many MAP graduates are sailing as Master, or are serving in senior management positions ashore.

Since its inception in 2006, the MAP has developed a proven track record of success with shipping companies, workboat and ferry operators across the U.S.  If your organization is looking for quality personnel excited about joining the maritime industry, visit the MAP web page at https://www.mitags.org/maritime-apprenticeship-programs/, or contact us at [email protected]

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