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Pilotage FAQs

Click on a question to see the answer.


The training period last 28 weeks. You will have exams at week 22, 24 and 26.

Your ‘trainee’ period is carefully scheduled, including time on the simulator and exams (planned well in advance of your start date), so the finish time for training is not flexible. Other progressions depend on how quickly you’re able to undertake ‘tripping’, which depends on the availability of ships as well as your readiness to do overtime.

No. The recruitment schedule is arranged well in advance.

You will be allocated 28 days leave per year and this will be pro rata’d at your start date. We would expect you to take some leave during your training period but no more than 10 days as there is a lot to get through.


  • You will need a National Insurance number. You'll pay income tax and National Insurance through a system called PAYE (pay-as-you-earn).



  • You will need a UK bank account. The PLA will be able to supply a letter to confirm your employment or your contract of employment should suffice. Individual banks terms and conditions will apply.


  • When you first come to the UK, you might choose to rent in the local area as it is a good idea to be within walking distance for your training period. Letting agents and landlords usually require you to pay a deposit and at least a month's rent in advance so make sure you have enough money saved to meet these initial costs. You may need photo ID and evidence that you can afford the rent, such as payslips or an employment contract.

    Once you are established in the UK, you may need a mortgage to buy a house or flat. You should work out how much you will be able to borrow, what monthly mortgage repayments you will be able to afford and how much of a deposit you'll need. Lenders will assess your income and outgoings, your credit history and the value and condition of the property you want to buy.

  • You will need a UK telephone number. This will help with communication.
  • Make sure you can drive in the UK - Find out how long you can drive on your existing licence in the UK or if you need to apply for a UK licence.