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Pilot Training

When you join us as a trainee Pilot, you unlock the pathway to working on the biggest ships in the world!

Training and continuous professional development is fundamental to your success in the role.

We’ll help you every step of the way, but you need ambition, determination, commitment and professionalism. You’ll also need to share our vision for delivering a quality service to our customers and embracing Health, Safety and Wellbeing. 

Our training is a mixture or theory, practical and simulation delivered in a variety of environments including our Headquarters in Gravesend, Kent, at sea, on the tidal Thames and at colleges around the UK.

As you embark on your new career, you’ll be given guidance, feedback and clear pathways that will assist you to reach the top level of Pilots serving the biggest ships. However, it takes time, experience and learning to progress through the classes.

Your initial training period will last for approximately 28 weeks. Explore the pathway below that will lead to you becoming a Class IV Pilot, the first level.

Training Pathways & Progression Routes

Through a combination of training, tripping, practical, theory and oral assessments you can progress from a Trainee Pilot up to Class I Unrestricted.


Also read:

• The Role of a Pilot

It’s a challenging career that requires rigour, determination and commitment. You’ll be responsible for vessels from all over the world.

• Our Pilot Training Programme

During your training, we will provide ongoing professional support, as you acquire the skills needed to become a Port of London pilot.

• Meet Our Trainees

Recent recruits share their insights on joining the PLA.

• FAQs

Commonly asked questions about our Pilotage department.

• Benefits

As a Port of London Authority employee, you’ll have access to generous benefits.

• Application Process

How to submit an application and what happens after you apply.

• Pilot Recruitment

• PLA Pilotage Services