We asked our recent successful IDC Candidate Mark Clark to answer a few questions about his experience completing his Rescue Diver, Divemaster and Instructor courses with The Dive Academy.
Q: What lead you to decide to take your Professional Courses here with us at The Dive Academy.
I started at The Dive Academy on my Open Water course, and the friendships I built there and the way they conduct courses with regards to safety and fun made it an easy decision to take my professional courses here.
Q: Before you began your DM Course you had to complete your Rescue Diver Course - did you find it challenging and do you think it made a difference to you as a diver?
During my DM course I assisted on a rescue course, The course was challenging to the student. I think the rescue course made the biggest difference of any course to me as a diver.
Q: Did the Rescue Diver Course help you at all with your Divemaster and Instructor Training?
For me the Rescue Course changed my thinking completely about diving. Rather than just diving for fun and following a dive leader around a dive site, this course made me think constantly and stay switched on when diving. If there was a strong current during the dive, my first reaction would be to turn around and check the other divers weren’t struggling to swim through it. I would check air and dive computer more often and also check how much air my buddy had during dives.
Q: What aspect of Rescue, Divemaster or Instructor 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?
The aspect that had the most effect on me, was assisting on courses and working with complete beginners doing DSD or Open Water, having that sense of responsibility and having people look up to you while watching them learn and grow confident into becoming divers. For me, that was the best thing about becoming a Pro. Also being responsible for other divers, for their safety and to make sure they had fun when I was leading dives.
Q: What do you think is the most important attribute or skill you most needed during your Professional Training?
Attitude! You have to really want it and be prepared to work hard.
Q: Did you find working with different instructor's helped you during your DM training? If yes, how did you benefit from working with more than one instructor?
Yes, definitely. It was good getting different opinions and perspective on a skill or task I wasn’t completely comfortable with. I also had help at hand any time I needed it.
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?
It wasn’t stress free, there was a relaxed atmosphere at times around the dive centre and on the boat but at the same time, I was being pushed hard to ensure I was prepared for what I had to do. There was always something to do, all day every day, from being involved with customers, helping out with the logistics of dive trips, preparing for assessments or studying for the theory and standards exams, so the training was intense but that is what’s required to make it as a Pro.
Q: Do you feel we took you through the courses at a good pace that suited your learning or could we have pushed you to get through them quicker or taken even longer?
I don’t think they should be done any quicker, I felt the courses were taught at a good pace. There was a lot of practical, hands on work required almost every day, which meant I had to do most of the required studying after work hours, there were a few long days but I felt I learned the most from being hands on and working with real customers. Maybe some people would benefit from taking an extra week on the DM but I didn’t mind studying in the evenings or on my days off since I was getting so much practical experience. The pace was perfect for me.
Q: How well do you think your Divemaster Course training prepared you for the Instructor Development Course?
The DM prepares you for the physical side of the job and gives you plenty of time to perfect your diving skills. The DM course was excellent preparation as the IDC itself is more classroom based.
Q: Were there any parts of the Divemaster or Instructor Courses you enjoyed or disliked more than the other parts?
As above, I enjoyed the practical side a lot more. I also understand how essential the classroom based learning is.
Q: Are you ready to face the world as a confident PADI Instructor?
Q: Is there anything you would like to change about the IDC?
I think the classroom presentations could be altered slightly, PADI have highlighted certain points you need to cover in every presentation to gain the marks you need to pass the IE. I don’t think in every real life situation, this would always be possible.
Q: Do you think you will enjoy life working as a PADI 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?
Yes, I think this job will suit me perfectly.
I enjoyed the training, I think it was conducted professionally, there were always other instructors around willing to give advice and help me out. The dive centre owners were always very approachable, they were willing to answer my questions and clear up any discrepancies with regards to teaching. The dive centre was fully equipped with all the learning materials I needed.