Spring is here, and we are finally moving towards brighter days. Spring also means that it is time for students at maritime colleges and vocational schools to apply for cadet and trainee positions, and Østensjø Rederi is especially excited about this year’s applicants as we have received more female applications than before.
In total, we are hiring 28 cadets and apprentices this year. The process for hiring cadets is now complete and we look forward to getting them all on board to join our crew. We are proud of the fact that several of our office employees today started in training positions in the company, and we view our cadets and apprentices as an important resource for the future!
We hope the story of Emma Johnsen, who was in an integrated practice with us, starts as a cadet at Edda Fjord this the summer, can inspire aspiring sailors of the future.
Photos and stories from this interview are from our company magazine Sjøfartstidene.
BY BJARNE LAASTAD // PYX
Emma Johnsen had originally planned to steer clear of a maritime career, but ultimately she could not give it up. The call of the ocean was too strong.
Emma Johnsen (23) from Randaberg, outside of Stavanger, grew up amongst seafarers. Her grandfather was a harbour pilot and her father and brothers worked on everything from tankers to anchor handlers to oil rigs. It’s no wonder she has a close affinity with the maritime sector. Nevertheless, Johnsen wanted to go her own way.
“I always pictured myself working within the media industry, and thus chose media subjects in high school. However, I realised that the journalist dream was not really for me, and eventually I started thinking about the old sea tales my grandfather used to tell me. Growing up, I was always told how amazing life at sea can be. Stories about the wonderful and unusual working life and camaraderie on board, and about seeing the world. In the military, I finally got a chance to test life onboard. I mustered on the Coast Guard vessel Nordkapp and was allowed to sail in the Barents Sea and around Svalbard. It was incredibly educational, and I enjoyed every second of it. We were on fishing inspections and had several different drills. It was exciting, and had me longing for more”, she says.
With a Bachelor’s degree in nautical education from Høyskolen på Vestlandet (HVL), Johnsen’s path toward a maritime career had begun.
“Without a trade certificate, a bachelor’s degree was the natural path for me to take. I applied to many places, but my choice was easy once I was accepted at HVL in Haugesund, which is quite close to my home at Randaberg”, she says.
Johnsen is now into her third year and has chosen Integrated Practice as her study option. Integrated practice means she will have an internship period as a cadet for two months, and she has gotten a place on the subsea vessel Edda Flora.
“I’m really looking forward to it”, she says. “Down there I get to work with two different shifts. Previously, I had a summer job at Rødne, on a passenger ferry in Lysefjord. That was a lot of fun, but I wanted to experience the offshore life, which for many years has been an important workplace for my family. As a cadet, I get more experience and valuable sailing time in my logbook. It’s also exciting to work with people of different ages”, says Johnsen.
Next spring she will be writing her bachelor’s thesis about whether it is more economic to convert old offshore vessels into new aquaculture service vessels or to build them from scratch.
“I’m passionate about sustainability and think it’s exciting to take a closer look at these important subjects. I know that Østensjø Rederi is very competent in the field of environmental technology, and I’m looking forward to learning more about sustainability and environmental work in practice”, she says.
Johnsen is pleased to see that more and more girls are choosing a career in the maritime sector and hopes that the trend will continue.
“Of almost 30 students in the nautical course at HVL, we are only 5 girls. Although I thrive in a profession that is relatively male-dominated, we need more women. It provides an even more varied work environment, which I think is nice – no matter where you are. Onboard a vessel, we become a big family anyway. We spend our working day and our free time together on board, and everyone is literally “in the same boat”. It is such an enjoyable experience. It is well paid, the rotation scheme is convenient, with four weeks off and four weeks on. Food and accommodation are always in order, and you get to see the world in an unconventional way. And then there are also many interesting maritime opportunities onshore as well; shipping company offices, Maritime Training Office, the Norwegian Maritime Authority, the Norwegian Coastal Administration, and so on”, she emphasizes.
What does a young cadet dream of for the future?
At some point, I could probably imagine following in my grandfather’s footsteps by becoming a harbor pilot. It will be a little more family-friendly as you can live at home while working at sea. However, it will require many years of the onboard experience, after which I must satisfy the Norwegian Maritime Authority’s competency matrix. There are few places and many who want to enter, but it would have been perfect, Johnsen smiles.