Sunday, November 6, 2016

October IDC at The Dive Academy all finished

So,the October IDC has finished after a week of great presentation scores from Marc to prove he is ready for the PADI IE in 2 days time in Koh Tao.

Marc has achieved consistently high scores throughout all of the sections of the IDC and has continued to develop his understanding of what he will need to do to become a great PADI Instructor like the other Instructors he has been surrounded by at The Dive Academy in the past few weeks that he aspires to emulate!

Today Marc completed the Emergency First Response Instructor Course and, ably assisted by Red the office cat, Marc demonstrated how to deliver CPR and Rescue breathes to a non-breathing baby although it does look as if Red was actually delivering the breathes!! Good luck with the IE Marc, it has been a pleasure having you as a candidate and we are sure you'll become a great instructor - with Red's assistance!!

Good luck in Koh Tao and we look forwad to celebrating you becoming a PADI Instructor in a few days time!!
#padiinstructorthailand, #goprosamui, #padidcthailand, #thediveacademysamuigopro, #padiprothailand

The meaning of Internship in the diving industry

In the diving industry their is a common misconception regarding the meaning of "Internship". Many people believe that it means that you get the dive courses for free in exchange for working around the dive centre. That is not what is meant by the internship option on the courses.

At The Dive Academy both the Divemaster Course and the Master Scuba Diver Trainer Course are completed by means of an "Internship" which you pay for. What it actually means is that you complete the courses over a period of time by working alongside our Instructors, learning and gaining valuable experience by watching real courses, real students and by learning what other jobs around the dive centre are carried out by our PADI Pro's to help the dive centre function on a daily basis. This includes packing bags, washing equipment, washing cups, equipment maintenance, helping keep our pool crystal clear by clearing leaves, dealing with Social Media, customer service issues and many other day to day tasks that are required to run the business. Learning the essential but less glamorous side to being a PADI Professional is part of the courses, particularly Divemaster.

There are many reasons why "free internships in exchange for work" are not a good idea and why we don't offer them:
  • A good dive centre would hopefully have all of the jobs required to run effectively already being carried out by their staff otherwise how would they function? If that is the case you would only be given the real meaningless and worthless tasks to carry out which would be of no benefit to your development. It is known that often free interns are used as nothing more than cheap labour.
  • PADI Pro's spend a lot of time, effort and money along the way to gaining a good amount of knowledge and experience so why would we give away for free the benefit of that knowledge and experience? If you get it for free there is a good chance that your training will not be as good or carried out with as much enthusiasm as it would if you paid for it.
  • Being a PADI Pro isn't all about diving with lovely fishes and getting a suntan. It is an amazing lifestyle and a great way to live but like many other professions it is hard work and some of it not so glamorous. You need to learn as much about your new profession, the good bits and the not so good, as you can to be a success.
  • Here in Thailand it is illegal to work without a work permit so a free internship could lead to problems for both us and anybody on a free internship doing jobs around the dive centre without one.
  • There are many Divemasters and Instructors in the diving industry looking for work that have spent money and time on becoming a Pro and having people work for free only makes finding a job more difficult for those deserving of it.

If you want the best possible training and the best start to your life as a PADI Pro and are willing to pay for it contact us to see what deals we can offer you to get you started.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Divemaster Course complete

Marc Clark, a repeat customer of The Dive Academy, having a few years ago completed his Open Water and Advanced Open Water courses with us, has now become a PADI Pro! After 5 weeks of working with a variety of customers from beginners to experienced divers, completing skill circuits, swim tests and a variety of scenarios and assessments, Marc is now a PADI Divemaster.

On the last day of his course, where Marc was leading a group of certified divers, he had the pleasure of seeing this beauty - a 600 year old (well we're guessing!) green turtle that was absolutely huge!

Well done Marc, it was a pleasure working with you and at all times you showed professionalism, a willingness to learn and improve and you had a great rapport with customers. All attributes that are going to make you a successful Pro.

Time to start some Specialities now and then Marc is joining the October IDC at The Dive Academy.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Q&A with our new Divemaster

Carsten recently completed his Divemaster Course here at The Dive Academy and we asked him a few questions......

Q: What lead you to decide to take your Divemaster Course with  The Dive Academy?
In Belgium I was working as an IT-consultant and already for quite some time I wanted to do something different, something far away and something fun… so I finally decided that if I don't do it now it will probably never happen and I will regret it later. Early 2015 I started looking for places to go and things to do and came across the website from The Dive Academy. I sent them an email explaining my situation and what I wanted to do. Very shortly after  I received an answer with all the details that they had to offer, specific possibilities and even some information about the island itself. I didn't hesitate for long, I dived before so I knew I liked it and decided this is the thing that I wanted to do…A few months later I quit my job and I occasionally had contact with The Dive Academy, just to keep them up to date about my progress and when I would arrive. I took care of things in Belgium, arranged a visa, found somebody to take care of my apartment while I am gone, finished my last months working and I finally arrived in December '15 in Koh Samui. I immediately started diving…

Q: Before you began your DM Course you had to complete your Rescue Diver Course with us - did you find it challenging and do you think it made a difference to you as a diver?
Yes and yes - It was challenging and it definitely made a difference to me as a diver. When I started I only was 'open water' certified, so I first had to do the 'advanced open water' and compared to the 'rescue diver' the 'advanced open water' are just a few fun dives.  The rescue diver course is a very rewarding course, it teaches you how to recognize dangerous or abnormal behaviour/situations and how to deal with them. During the different exercises and scenarios I learned several techniques on how to deal with this. The theory for this course is quite a lot but the exercises and scenarios are the challenging part, it definitely helps if you have a good physical condition.In addition to this training I also did the EFR (Emergency First Responder) training, it teaches you the emergency care procedures which are not only relevant for diving but also in other daily situations.

 Q: Did the Rescue Diver Course help you at all with your Divemaster Training?
I would have to say yes because the Rescue Diver Course made me a better diver in general. After that course I felt more confident and therefore better prepared to start with the Divemaster Training. Also some parts from the Rescue course were repeated during the Divemaster Training, like the exercise ‘respond to a an unresponsive, nonbreathing diver’, so indeed it helped to have done it already before.

Q: What aspect of Rescue or Divemaster Training do you think had the most effect on you as a diver and do you think you see things differently now you are a PADI Pro compared to being a certified diver?
For the Rescue course it were definitely the exercises and the scenarios, the theory was important too but it were the exercises that really prepare you for unexpected situations. For the Divemaster training the focus was mainly on daily activities as a pro; making sure everything is prepared, equipment setup, dealing with the customers, briefings, … As a certified diver you can just enjoy the dive whereas a pro you are involved in so much more!

Q: What do you think is the most important attribute or skill you most needed during your Divemaster Training?
Besides the general dive skills, it is the people skills that I think are very important. As a Divemaster you come in contact with many customers from different countries, different ages, different experiences, different personalities … and for all of them you will have to find a way to make them feel comfortable and at ease.

Q: Did you find working with different instructor's helped you during your DM training?

Yes it did, although everybody teaches according to the PADI general standards and procedures, they do have different styles of teaching. Working with different instructors gave me the chance to see all these different styles and learn specific things from each of them. But it is not only about the teaching methods, it is also about their personal experiences that they shared with me.

Q: Did you find the training intense or quite relaxed? Do you feel we pushed you hard enough to make you a good Pro or did you find it fairly stress free?
Some parts were more intense than others but in general I always had the feeling everything was under control.  I never had the feeling that I was pushed too hard, some parts were more difficult but they are the things you will have to deal with if you want to become a good Pro.

Q: Do you feel we took you through the course at a good pace that suited your learning or could we have pushed you to get through it quicker or taken even longer?

I had the luxury that time was not an issue for me, I didn’t have a deadline or have to finish the training in a specific timeframe. This resulted in a very flexible planning and a win-win situation for all of us, The Dive Academy could schedule me in when it fit best in their planning and I was able to participate in various activities, even if they didn’t occur very frequently. So for me this was an ideal pace. I probably could have done it quicker but I guess it wouldn’t have gone that smooth and would maybe have created some unnecessary stress.
Q: How well do you think your instructors prepared you to be a Pro and what can you say about how your instructor mentored and coached you during the course?
I was lucky that I already knew the instructors before I started with the Divemaster Training (because of the courses and fun diving I did before). For me this was very beneficial to already have some kind of connection with them. I had the feeling they were already preparing me before I actually started. Becoming a Pro doesn’t happen by reading a book or just doing the exercises, in my opinion you need good guidance, someone that shares his experiences and acts as a good role model, and I really believe my instructor / mentor did a great job at this.

Q: Are you ready to face the world as a confident PADI Divemaster?

Yes - bring it on! ;-)

Q: If you weren't returning to Europe do you think you would enjoy life working as either a PADI Divemaster or Instructor seeing as you have had first-hand experience of how much hard work it is being a Pro, taking responsibility for people on a daily basis and making sure they remain safe while under your supervision. And of course the effort that goes in to loading tanks, packing bags and the other less glamorous jobs involved in being a PADI Pro?

It is difficult to say if I would enjoy it or not…. I suppose it doesn’t matter what kind of job you are doing, there are always some parts you like more than others. Currently my plan is still to go back to Europe but I will try to involve myself in some diving activities there.

Lastly, in the pictures below, you are seen wearing a dress during the party to celebrate you completing the Divemaster Course - can you tell us how much you enjoyed wearing the dress?
I actually found it very liberating and very comfortable to wear. As I mentioned earlier, during my Divemaster training my Instructors had been excellent mentors and they, particularly Steve, completely prepared me for dressing as a woman by sharing their previous experiences!!
(This final question and answer was completly made up to go with the pictures below - we're sure Carsten gained no pleasure from wearing a dress - unlike some!!)
Dan, Steve and driver Sak paying a bit too much attention to Carsten in his dress!!

For information about completing your PADI Divemaster or Instructor Course with The Dive Academy, including the very special deals now on offer, contact us for more information.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Special deals on PADI Go Pro Packages

The Dive Academy offers the highest quality training in small groups at all levels as is expected on a tourist island where customers have high expectations and standards.

All Pro level training at The Dive Academy is conducted by the owners of the business, unlike many dive centre's that use freelance CD's. That means that you can be sure your training will be to the best possible standard that we have built a reputation for delivering as we are very conscious of maintaining that reputation.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Two new PADI Instructors come through The Dive Academy IDC and PADI IE

The Dive Academy's latest IDC has finished and both of our candidates successfully completed the PADI Instructor Exam on Koh Tao and are now PADI Instructors.

It is always nice to see the hard work and effort that candidates put in during the IDC rewarded by passing the IE and in the case of our latest candidates, Beth and Luca, it is even more satisfying due to the fact that they both had to work even harder than most candidates.

Beth completed a Divemaster Internship with an SSI dive centre in Australia which meant that she would get the course for free in exchange for working once she was certified. As it would benefit the dive centre to get Beth working as soon as possible her training was rushed and massively incomplete which left her lacking the skills and knowledge that a properly trained Divemaster would have and meant that she was completely unprepared for what she had to face during the IDC. 

We originally began Beth's IDC in November but after struggling through the first week she decided to delay the rest of the IDC so she could go away and prepare herself properly - which was completely the right decision. For the next 3-4 weeks she watched skills videos on YouTube, practised in the swimming pool, studied the theory, asked lots of questions and took many practise exams until she was ready to join the January IDC. When she came back, Beth was like a completely different person to the one that first joined our IDC and she was completely prepared for what she had to do and achieved really high scores on every part of the IDC. Her
extremely hard work and effort had paid off and along with the frequent reassurance from Course Director Paul and Staff Instructor Claire to calm her nerves and boost her very fragile confidence she was more than ready to take the PADI IE.

Luca was previously a PADI Instructor in the early 90's but had been inactive for around 15 years so had to be retrained in more up to date ways diving is taught along with new skills as well as completely refreshing his existing skills and knowledge. Luca also had the challenge of only speaking very basic English so he spent
the month before the IDC taking English lessons to improve his English enough to be able to take the IDC with us and in particular with our Course Director Paul.

Again, with lots of effort, hard work and a little bit of patience (actually quite a lot) on the part of both Luca and Paul, Luca finally got himself into a position where he was ready to take the IE, which he did in Italian which obviously helped.

The Instructor Exam was held on Koh Tao and as usual we based ourselves at Bans Diving Resort. Bans always help us with logistics providing tanks, weights and transportation as well as allowing us to join with their candidates at the IE party and celebrations. For those that don't know Bans are the biggest PADI Dive Centre in the world but their staff, particularly their CD's, are always more than willing to help us when we go over for the IE - help that is greatly appreciated and something that they do with nothing in it for themselves other than just to be nice and helpful.

On day one, the IE orientation started at 7.30am followed by the Standards and theory exams which both Beth and Luca comfortably passed with no concerns. During lunch they prepared their confined water presentations which they gave in the afternoon and again were successful with no problems.

Relaxing  before the exams!!
And happy after......

The second day began in the classroom with the Knowledge Development presentations and after preparing thoroughly the previous evening, again there were no scares as both got high scores. The final portion of the exam was the Open Water presentations and with just under 50 candidates on the huge Bans boat it was going to be a fairly long wait until the end. Fortunately Beth and Luca were in one of the first groups to go down which meant they could get their presentations out of the way then come back to the boat where Paul was waiting and relax and prepare for their final debriefings. Again, as expected, both performed really well and got high scores to complete the IE and become PADI INSTRUCTORS!!
Looking confident after the Open Water Presentations 

Receiving the certificates of completion from amazing PADI Examiner Rob Scammell 

The happy new Instructors with their proud Course Director 
Luca enjoying his first alcoholic drink in 6 months, soon to be followed by a shot of Sambuca!!

Congratulations to the two of you and well done for all the hard work you put in to get you where you wanted to be. We hope you enjoy Living The Dream.......

If you want to know more about what it takes to become a PADI Instructor contact us for information.