Marine Engineering students get a sneak peak of life at sea

The BCIT Marine Engineering program is a Co-operative Education program designed to provide students with a solid background in the principles of construction, operation, and maintenance of diesel engine propulsion plants on ships. While the BCIT Marine Campus has a world-class simulation lab, there’s no substitute for the real thing. That’s why, every second term, students do their learning aboard a ship. But for those new to the industry, life at sea can be a hard adjustment. Thankfully, industry partners like Princess Cruises want our cadets to not only survive, but thrive aboard their vessels.

Preparing students for a successful co-op term

On August 5, Princess Cruises invited four first-year BCIT Marine Engineering students to attend a private tour of the Coral Princess while it was docked at Canada Place. The tour was led by James Hallé, Manager, Fleet HR (Cadets & Training) of Princess Cruises. He gave the students a taste of what working life is like aboard a cruise ship—a practical and reassuring experience to have prior to the first day of their co-op terms as cadets.

While aboard, the students experienced the inner workings of the Coral Princess’ propulsion systems in the engine control room and the engine room. They also viewed the crew areas, cadet cabins, and passenger areas. The students met the technical staff and asked questions about what they could expect on their first days at sea.

“Ship visits provide our cadets with an initial insight into what working life is like aboard a cruise ship. It gives a cadet great exposure to the environment in which they will be working,” says James. “The visits help to prepare the cadet for what they can expect from that first day of embarkation.”

A career that will take you places

Working with Princess Cruises provides students the opportunity to work with a broad range of ship and engine types, from modern automated cruise ships like the Coral Princess, to older, more-conventional manual ships within the P&O Princess Australia fleet. Engineering cadets get the added bonus of traveling the world. Some from this class have already commenced work terms in Singapore and San Francisco.

“The tour was very helpful because you get a chance to see what you’re getting into,” says student Jocelyn Hitchen. “You see how the crew interacts with each other.”

Jocelyn looks forward to putting the practical skills learned in her program into practice on the Grand Princess this September. After she completes her studies at BCIT, Jocelyn and the other students on the tour look forward to ongoing employment as Junior Engineer Officers with Princess Cruises.

Learn more about the BCIT Marine Engineering program and our other courses and programs in navigation, seamanship, and maritime safety and security.

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