Award Winning Platinum PADI Course Director
PADI Course Directors hold the highest recreational dive qualification within the PADI education system and are responsible for all levels of Instructor training including the PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC). Course Directors do not only hold the highest but also the most respected PADI diver rating, they are also role models and create a wealth of influence in their candidates and the entire industry. Those who become a PADI Course Director have been subject to a strict screening process before taking part in the challenging Course Director Training Course (CDTC).
So tell us your story, Holly. How did you get into scuba diving?
Well, I am from the United Kingdom and grew up in London. I have always had a passion for the underwater world and since a very young age and wanted to try scuba diving. I never thought I would end up working in the dive industry, but I guess that’s often what happens when you get the bug. I’ve been in the dive industry for over a decade and wouldn’t regret a minute of it. For me it’s not just been a fantastic career but it’s been a journey.
Before becoming a PADI professional I always tried to go diving as often as possible. In the early days this was very much limited to Europe due to money and time constraints. I actually ended up taking my Open Water Course on the island of Koh Tao, Thailand. I was simply blown away by the PADI educational system and their diving practices. After this I decided to take more PADI courses whenever possible.
I found myself progressing through the PADI education system whilst at the same time experiencing some truly amazing sites. I eventually decided to go to Utila in Honduras to take the PADI Divemaster course. I than worked as a divemaster in a variety of locations and eventually I decided to take my PADI Instructor Development Course. This career has given me the opportunity to travel throughout the continents of Asia and Australia and going to places I would have previously only dreamed about,whilst meeting some truly inspiring people that I would not have met otherwise.
Did you always want to be an PADI Diving Instructor?
When I first tried scuba diving I was blown away by the underwater world and just wanted to go diving as much as possible. It wasn’t till I took a few PADI courses that I realized that there was actually a fully recognized career path in recreational diving. The more PADI courses I took the more passionate I felt about the PADI philosophy and their educational path.
When I took my first PADI courses I started to realize how much I had to learn. I can remember saying to myself ‘wow, these guys know their stuff’, and I guess this was when I decided to further my diving education. Whilst I was working towards my Divemaster course I dicovered just how much I enjoyed working with students, and teaching them new things about diving. I than realized that it was possible for me to become a PADI Dive Instructor.
Where have you previously been diving?
I have now been diving for over 16 years and have taken the opportunity to dive in as many different places as possible. I first started diving in Europe, which gave me the urge to go further afield and dive more tropical coral seas. My first warm water diving was in Thailand and since then I have dived all over SE Asia in Malaysia, The Philippines, Vietnam and Australia where I have both worked and dived. I have also dived in The Caribbean, Red Sea and of course now in Indonesia. Although Europe does have some fantastic dive sites and The Red Sea is extremely conveniently located in relation to the UK, I don’t think that anywhere beats the diversity of coral and marine life found in Indo Pacific Oceans. That’s why I’m very happy to be based right here in the heart of the Coral Triangle!
What made you want to be a PADI Course Director?
During my career as a PADI professional I have worked in a variety of diving related roles and aimed to experience every side of the recreational dive industry. As a PADI Divemaster and an Instructor I have worked for many busy shops in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and the Caribbean. I have worked in some of the busiest dive training centers in the world, managed dive shops both small and large and also been employed as an Instructor on liveaboard expeditions. Throughout my career I have always sought out new challenges and ways to develop myself as an Instructor; before becoming a Course Director myself I took the opportunity to work alongside many of the best known PADI Course Directors in Asia and Australia. My favorite part of teaching is working with the next generation of dive professionals and leaders so becoming a PADI Course Director just seemed like a natural progression for me. I believe that the experience and contacts that I have gained within the industry has enabled me to develop the perfect IDC course to give instructor candidates the best chance of achieving their goals and creating successful and rewarding careers as PADI Instructors; and hopefully having as much fun as I have had along the way.
Tell us about your philosophy on teaching The Gili Instructor Development Courses
During the Gili IDC Course we do work hard, however I do like to make the environment as comfortable and relaxed as possible. I encourage all candidates to arrive ahead of the IDC if possible to settle in to island life and meet their new classmates; this helps to form some bonds and creates a great atmosphere in the classroom. We put a lot of effort into devising an IDC timetable and schedule that I believe is a perfect choice for PADI professionals who are looking to invest in there dive career, whilst also gaining the necessary qualifications to pursue their dreams. Our IDC package aims to address the major barriers that prevent many DMs from continuing their training: Firstly the cost, our IDC and EFRI is set at 950 Euro’s, and is currently the most competitively priced IDC in Asia, possibly worldwide, of course without compromising the quality of our training. We are able to maintain this price due to our location and the close proximity of our training sites. We are based at one of the busiest dive centers in Indonesia and have our own purpose built air conditioned classroom as well as onsite training pool; Trawangan Dive is situated directly on the beach with training sites literally 5 minutes away by boat; as such we have been able to reduce overheads significantly whilst also maximizing the time spent in classroom sessions and therefore the overall quality of the course.
We have also addressed the issue of limited time availability. Our IDC follows a 10 day schedule and although we highly recommend that prospective students arrive ahead of the IDC if possible; those with limited time can conduct their own pre-study and complete their IDC within 10 days. For candidates who can arrive earlier we have devised a pre IDC preparation schedule that includes theory preparation, skills practice and of course fun diving all included in the course price.
I have personally been working in the dive industry for more than a decade and have worked in a variety of positions in different countries and environments; I fully understand the time and money constraints for new Instructors starting out in the dive industry. I have always felt that that it is a real shame to see dive professionals who are passionate about diving and the underwater world miss out on fulfilling not only their own potential, but contributing to the industry as a whole.
How do you differ from other PADI Course Directors?
As well as having a 100% pass rate I am very proud and happy to have received several PADI certificates of excellence and getting a mention in the exceeding expectations section of the Undersea Journal. One of my main aims in teaching new Instructors is to produce dive professionals who will succeed and improve the dive industry; one of my priorities as a Course Director is to help my candidates secure employment. During my own career I fulfilled many positions within dive centers and have developed many contacts within the dive industry and am happy to use this network to help my candidates in finding their first dive job.
Are there any goals for the future?
During the IDC I aim to train candidates to a level far above that expected of the industry. As a Course Director I am in constant contact with PADI and their regional managers to keep fully up to date with the latest training requirements and ensure my candidates are fully updated. I have trained many Staff Instructors and I would like to develop a continuing Instructor Development program designed to train and mentor PADI Staff Instructors working towards their Master Instructor rating whilst still working in dive centers in and around in the Gili Islands.