Taking an engineering course at Derby College Group marked the beginning of a whole new voyage of discovery for naval engineer Declan Clarke-Hancock.
After leaving Littleover Community School, Declan enrolled on the full-time performing engineering operations level 2 course at The Roundhouse Technical and Professional Skills college.
Now aged 25, he is a third electro-technical officer (ETO) on the cruise ship Sapphire Princess and is seeing the world while doing an engineering job he loves.
Getting to where he is now hasn’t always been plain sailing though. The Derbyshire firm where Declan took a level 3 electrical apprenticeship closed just as he qualified. Unsure of what to do next, he was looking for a local job as an electrician when he spotted a cadetship opportunity with Princess Cruises.
After attending maritime college in Southampton, as well as training for months at sea, Declan then had to pass difficult Maritime and Coastguard Agency exams before taking up his current role.
Declan started as an ETO in May 2019 and is responsible for the 110,000-ton ship’s electrical and electronics, including looking after her 35 elevators, watertight doors and lifeboats.
Declan said: “Going to Derby College definitely gave me the step up I needed. Without that I wouldn’t have got where I am now so I’m very thankful. I’d like to come back to college and talk to engineering students about my experiences. I want to show them where studying engineering at the Roundhouse can lead – and that they don’t necessarily have to stay in Derby or the East Midlands when they qualify. The right qualifications can take them anywhere.”
Declan has already had many memorable travel experiences through his job. Highlights include kayaking and dog sled riding in an Alaskan glacier, watching England play football in the World Cup in St Petersburg and visiting New York.
Going to Derby College definitely gave me the step up I needed.