Prior Student’s Dream of Merchant Navy Captaincy a Step Closer

31 May 2013

Prior Park College Year 13 student, Rachel Arnold has always dreamed of following in her father’s and grandfather’s footsteps and entering the Navy. This week she got one step closer to realising that dream.

Rachel has been offered a place with a recruitment company who recruits on behalf of a number of different companies in the Merchant Navy, mainly bulk carriers and tankers. She will find out in the next couple of weeks which specific company she will work with.

Demonstrating a determination beyond her years, Rachel applied to a lot of different companies and received a couple of rejections before she was offered an interview over Easter. “I was really unsure about how the interview went and I was so happy to get the letter of acceptance.” She describes the Merchant Navy as such a unique career path: “There is the guarantee that every single day will bring different experiences and challenges. Both my dad and grandfather were in the Royal and Merchant Navy respectively which sparked my initial interest.”

Rachel will embark on a three year Foundation degree course, spending half the time at College and half the time on board a working ship. It is this hands-on approach that she relishes the most: “I never really found the prospect of university particularly exciting, but with the Merchant Navy you learn whilst doing what you want to do.”

Rachel has aspirations of eventually making Captain, but she understands that there is a lot of water to flow under the bridge (or the ship!) first; “I would absolutely love to be Captain, which involves working one’s way up through the officer ranks. In such a male dominated industry, it would be a real achievement.”

Rachel is a Music Scholar at Prior and she does not intend to let her hours of lessons and performances go to waste; “I intend to keep having singing lessons and when I am away I will most definitely sing in the shower! Once I qualify I honestly don’t know, but that is three years away!”

Prior Park College Headmaster, Mr James Murphy-O’Connor is thrilled for Rachel. “It really gives me a lot of pleasure when our students reach for their dreams in the way Rachel has. Her teachers and Housemistress have full confidence that she will thrive with all the wonderful challenges that lie ahead.”