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Applying for work @ BC Ferries

Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:21 am
by Steamboat Al
I just thought I would pass along my recent experience with applying for work at BC Ferries.

A few weeks back I met with a C/E friend of mine regarding what it was like to work at the ferries, I have avoided applying for many years but now I thought I would like to settle down a little and now might be the time. While we sailed from Swartz Bay to Fulford Harbour we discussed the position of C/E Management Intermediate Vessel (at the time posted on the public web page for employment). We discussed the terms and conditions of his employment when he was hired to the same position. I said I would think about the position as it sounded good to me. I was encouraged by my friend to send in my C/V to him and he would forward it to HR in Swartz Bay. I forwarded my C/V to my friend who in turn passed it on through the system, I also informed the Senior C/E that I would be in Victoria on a certain day and that if HR wanted to get in touch with me they could call me on my cell phone (included in my C/V) and I would be glad to stop by and discuss my application with both the Senior C/E and HR at that time.

Well imagine my surprise when I got home from Victoria after waiting around for an entire day thinking I might receive a phone call from HR to have a message on my answering machine to call HR the following day. I phoned the following day and as usual went to voice mail, I received a call a short time later from HR. It was obvious that they did not even bother to read my C/V as the conversation started off with "well I new you were in Victoria so I called you home phone number" and then "BTW what certificate do you have?". If HR had bothered to read my C/V all of this information was already in their hands. The person then went on to offer me a position as an on call ERA/oiler on the condition that I sell my house and move to Saltspring Island. I declined this "offer".

Now one might think that if I were applying for a permanent position as a C/E why on earth would I accept a position as an oiler on an on call part time basis especially when one considers that I have a 2nd Class Motor and 34 years of sea time and the last time I sailed as an oiler was back in 1982.

I contacted my friend who in turn got in touch with the Senior C/E to tell them of how I was treated, to say the least they were shocked. My friend suggested that I send my application directly at HR in Victoria while in the meantime he would contact the Engineering Superintendent to discuss my application. Victoria bounced my application back to Swartz Bay as they said that it was their job to handle my application. I called Swartz Bay again and informed HR that my application had obviously been placed in the wrong file and that I was applying for the C/E Management Intermediate vessel, they said that they would then place my application in this file. This was the last I ever heard from HR, I waited for the competition to close to see if I would receive a call for an appointment which never came I then noticed that the competition had been removed from the BCF web site so I e-mailed my friend to see what had happened and it turns out the competition went to the "employee only" web site. My friend got in touch with the Engineering Superintendent who was also quite shocked at how I was treated but he said there was nothing he could do as it was in the hands of HR.

So in a nutshell if you want to work for BCF's and you have a 1st or 2nd CoC be prepared to start as an oiler, sell your house and move for the vague offer of on call employment. It may come as no surprise that as of this moment BCF's is currently short by no less than 7 positions for 1st & 2nd Class on the public site and at least 2 positions that are currently being hidden from the public. Both my friend the Senior C/E and the Engineering Superintendent are quite puzzled by this given that they are currently sailing short handed.

I guess BCF's does not really need people that badly according to HR but when you talk to people that work on the vessels you get a completely different picture, one has to wonder!!!

I do not always expect to get employment when applying for work but to be offered an oilers job is an outright insult.

Best of luck to you if you decide you want to apply for work with them. I personally would not recommend them to anyone given the way HR treat professional Marine Engineers.

Re: Applying for work @ BC Ferries

Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:27 pm
by The Dieselduck
I moved the discussion over to this part of the forum for housekeeping reasons.


I have been hearing that exact story for so many years now it is not surprising to hear it again, sadly. I have been prodded to apply, kind of same situation as you; and had similar experience several times. Sure is a strange way to win over employees, sometimes makes me wonder if there is not an ulterior motive at play.

Re: Applying for work @ BC Ferries

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 6:34 am
by JK
I've heard this same story from a couple of different people when they were applying over the last 25 years, and that is over the other end of the country! Not conducive to the start of a good working relationship, you would think!

Re: Applying for work @ BC Ferries

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:33 am
by Steamboat Al

I forwarded your comment to my friends at BCF's. A little public questioning of their practices might wake someone up!!

Cheers Al

Re: Applying for work @ BC Ferries

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:38 am
by The Dieselduck
... its been twenty years since I've heard these stories out of BC Ferries. It may have gotten slightly, ever so slightly better for engineers, but I doubt things will change anytime soon. Its just like government, they say they are going to do all these changes, but essentially they all end up doing exactly the same regardless of the so call stripes. The problem is the system, at least that's my theory: "do what you've always done, get what you always gotten" if they or anyone else want change - do it. Here's where I plug my Blue Riband project -

Re: Applying for work @ BC Ferries

Posted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:15 am
by marineprojectgroup
Born and raised here on Vancouver Island, been applying to BC Ferries every year since 1984. Earned WKM in 1986, but not good enough to meet BC Ferry standards. Earned MM in 1995, but not good enough for BC Ferries. Promoted to Master on Aframax Tankers 2003, but not good enough for BC Ferries. Promoted again to Superintendent in 2006 but still not good enough for BC Ferries. Have been stopped cold by Chris Strange for years now. It is good that BC Ferries has people on the payroll like Chris Strange who is so experienced and worldly wise in all things marine related... Tried to bypass Strange by writing Glen N. Schwartz. He does not bother to get back to me. But did get a short message back from Karin Ratkai Manager, Human Resources. No follow up from Ratkai since April 2013. Oh well, have to keep up my annual applications to BC Ferries so I can get my annual rejection letter back from Chris Strange...

Re: Applying for work @ BC Ferries

Posted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:36 am
by Steamboat Al
Well I see Chris Strange and the rest of her "professional HR" people are back at it again trying to hire engineers with 1st & 2nd class CoC's. Just remember they want you to be an oiler and even if you have 30 or more years of experience of being a marine Engineer you will still be considered not experienced enough for BCF. If you happen to apply just be ready to be completely insulted by these people. Best of luck to anyone that applies.

Cheers Al

Re: Applying for work @ BC Ferries

Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:15 pm
by JollyJack
I've dealt with a case recently where a casual, temporary, uncertified oiler was considered unworthy, by the ship's Chief Engineers, of a record of sea service, as being of no importance, therefore not deserving of a testimonial or a discharge stamp. Of course, when he came to write his ERR, the BC Ferries time was discounted for ERR and only previous service, of which there was sufficient, with another company counted. After a number of e-mail exchanges with BC Ferries, the sea service with BC ferries was credited toward his 4M.

Sounds like a Mickey Mouse operation to me, I don't think I'd be applying any time soon.