When I was with Transocean they were trying to move away from that whole “license” thing. The job titles of “mate” and “engineer” were replaced by “dpo” and “mechanic”. If you were a dpo or mechanic who also happened to have an unlimited license you were paid an extra $0.80/hr. (they said they did a study and that was what they figured your license was worth). We had quite a few unlicensed dpo trainees and Transocean paid for all of their training and when they got the dp cert from NI were allowed to move up the ladder right alongside the licensed guys. Some of them were very good and capable guys, don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t change the fact that they didn’t have a license. I don’t know how Transocean does it now.
Personally, for the competency checkoffs, I would have no problems signing them off in the DP book if competence is demonstrated. License or no license. If the cook can demonstrate knowledge of the theory and operation of the dgps and I’ll check it off for him. For the time, you don’t get my stamp unless you are in the chair and doing the job under guidance. I would have no problem having an unlicensed dp trainee who is working towards his 3rd mate and doing his dp training at the same time so he can get the dp cert when he gets his license.
I just looked it up and the Nautical Institute says “Prospective DPO’s, who are in the process of training for an STCW certificate can start the DP scheme and complete Induction (basic) course and 30 days Familiarisation only. The Simulator (Advanced) course and watchkeeping training can only be completed after they hold an appropriate STCW certificate of competency” You have to have a license as OICNW to move further on the DP training program. http://www.nautinst.org/en/dynamic-positioning/dp-scheme-new-requirements.cfm
I don’t know of any companies out there that will accept a dp trainee without an unlimited license. Not off the street anyway. If a company were to accept an unlicensed AB as a dp trainee I would imagine it would be a longtime employee with a history of good performance appraisals, a drive to succeed and a demonstrated loyalty to the company. I know Transocean was also paying for the license classes of at least 1 AB.
If you want to pursue this I would recommend getting the AB job and doing the best job as AB you can, and spend time on the bridge when you are off watch to demonstrate interest and ambition and start working towards that mate’s license now. Only look at the bigger companies, the small companies don’t have room for dp trainees, they lure trained and experienced dpos from the bigger companies by offering higher pay. And you’d want to be the best AB the Captain has seen for him to recommend to the company to consider you as dp trainee. You’ve got a lot of needle-gunning ahead of you. You don’t want to come across as the AB who’s done working on deck because he’s going to be Sr. DPO in 2 or 3 more hitches. Hope this helps.