Early career introductions
Deck cadet Malin Gåsvær Haugen was inspired to join up by both of her grandfathers, who were seafarers, especially her grandfather on her mother's side, whose island in Sula meant many memorable moments on a small boat. "I'd love to have him to talk to about the chemical tanker, especially now, because I think he would have loved it," she says wistfully.
Even though she always knew she wanted to be a sailor, Malin took a longer than usual path to becoming a cadet, spending a year in the navy on a frigate before pursuing a bachelor's degree in nautical science. “For me, it was never a rush, but I'm happy that I went this way because there it was not just the normal way that most people go,” says Malin.
“You get to experience a lot of other things also.” It's a route she'd recommend to anyone interested in becoming a sailor because it was a great introduction to life on board as well as a great motivator: "It was very good to have the navy life back in my head because when things got tough at school, you knew you were doing what you wanted to do. You get motivated.”
Engine cadet Sofie Brasetvik was primarily motivated by a desire to see more of the world, and she discovered her path to the profession by chance at a school career fair.
Growing up in Rakkestad, near Oslo, with no seaside, her time on the water was limited to visits to Bodø, where her parents are from.
Nonetheless, at the age of 16, she beat out many others in a competitive school program in her second year of high school in which she spent a year living onboard a school ship called Sjøkurs with 59 other students. They learned about the ship, how to be a seafarer, and the fundamentals of the engine room, including the main engine and auxiliary engines. The travel opportunities that being a seafarer provides were the final push that set Sofie on her career path.
Sofie's interest in the engine was piqued even at that young age. “I thought that the engine part was more interesting because it was quite difficult and a lot of different stuff,” she says.
“It's a lot of different things on the deck too, but it was the engine room that had the many types of machinery and engines and processes that you have to learn about. I didn't know about anything. I just wanted to try and see if I could learn it.”
A fast and efficient hiring process
Eva Storeide, the crewing officer, eagerly greeted both Sofie and Malin's arrival. Both women had taken the initiative to reach out to see if the company had any available openings for them.
They were hired about a week after submitting their applications and attending their interviews. It's a good reminder that it's usually worthwhile to simply knock on doors searching for opportunities.
“I think it was really professional that it went so fast,” says Malin. “That was also one of the reasons where I felt this is a good place to be because I like when people are responding fast, and you can actually get in touch with the people you work with.”
An investment in future talent
Odfjell contributes to maritime personnel training in machines and on the deck and the bridge by hiring cadets and apprentices. On most training ships, two or three seafarers are training simultaneously. The training manager on board and the crew department in Bergen oversee the training.
The first departure will be preceded by an information meeting, either in person or via webinar. The workload is specified in the employment contract, but the ship determines the working hours. It varies depending on the role.
Odfjell has a more than 100-year long history and is one of the pioneers in chemical transportation, today operating nearly 90 chemical tankers.
Cadets and trainees gain maritime experience at Odfjell on a modern chemical tanker in international trade.
Some will be offered full-time positions with the company after completing their training.
The final step in applying for the Deck Certificate is to gain seafaring experience. Depending on prior experience and maritime education, it could take up to a year. After the training period, a trainee must return to school to be fully certified. A cadet and a trainee are on board for 9-11 weeks.
Advantages of working at Odfjell
The opportunity to travel internationally, as well as the type of ships they would be working on, was a big draw for both Malin and Sofie when they applied to Odfjell.