Caera flourishing in male-dominated industry

From graduating and winning awards to securing a permanent job and sailing the high seas,  the past three months have certainly been eventful for talented 21-year-old Caera Kimmitt.

It’s all been made possible by North Star Shipping, where over the past three years, Caera has climbed the career ladder from being an apprentice to recently becoming second engineer OOW (officer of the watch) aboard the emergency response and rescue vessel (ERRV), the Grampian Devotion.

To cap it off, Caera is on the crest of a wave after being presented with Nautilus International’s 2015 Bevis Minter Award as Cadet of the Year and the Outstanding Performance Award by Craig Group, which operates North Star Shipping.


The Cadet of the Year prize, presented at City of Glasgow College’s opening ceremony, was in recognition of Caera’s outstanding coursework and additional voluntary work that she had taken on for college open days during her apprenticeship with North Star Shipping.

Caera was presented with the award at her graduation ceremony where she also received her professional diploma in Marine Management. A memorable day was rounded off when Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who was in attendance at the ceremony, congratulated Caera personally on her achievements.

Caera said: “Winning the award was a bit overwhelming. It is an honour to win, I hadn’t expected it at all, but it is nice to know my work has been noticed and it has given me a lot of confidence.”

Having first joined her local sea cadets at the age of 11, graduation brought Caera’s decade as a cadet to an end. On leaving school in 2012, she took part in a three-year cadet training programme with her place sponsored by North Star Shipping. The course is split between the college classroom and time spent offshore. Each trip aboard one of the firm’s vessels lasted 28 days and over the period of her course, Caera spent more than six months at sea.

She said: “North Star takes on a lot of cadets and there are a lot of people within the company that you can speak with if you need advice. Everyone is approachable and interested in how you are doing.”

North Star Shipping’s cadet training scheme has an annual intake of new cadets and provides them with the required skills and experience to progress into a career as a marine engineer or deck officer.

Caera, who became a permanent member of staff in August, said: “At the moment I’m responsible for checking levels and general maintenance in the engine room. As I’m still new, I can call on the second or chief engineer if I am unsure what to do; it is good to know they are there. Sometimes there will also be bigger jobs to carry out that we will all do together.

Caera and Nicola Sturgeon

“It was quite daunting on my first trip as a full crew-member but there is complete support there whenever I need it. The training is very thorough and it is good to have so many experienced people around.”

Oil and gas is traditionally a male-dominated industry but this did not put Caera off from following her career goals.

She added: “It doesn’t bother me at all. In college I was the only girl in my class and there weren’t many in the sea cadets. At North Star I’m just one of the team, being female doesn’t come into it. I work with a really good crew and I enjoy being part of it.”

Callum Bruce, managing director of North Star Shipping, said: “Caera has an exciting career ahead of her and we look forward to seeing her progress in the years to come with North Star. She has already done exceptionally well throughout her cadetship and in her relatively short time with the company she has made a big impression through her positive approach and attitude.”

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