PADI Elite Instructor Interview: Stefano Busca, PADI Course Director

Stefano Busca, PADI Course Director, achieved the status of PADI Elite Instructor 2016 – an award which recognises the efforts and accomplishments of PADI’s top performing instructors around the world.

We spoke to Stefano to find out what being a PADI Elite Instructor means to him, as well as learning about his achievements and future aspirations as a PADI Professional.


What inspired you to become a PADI Pro?                                                                     I have always loved outdoor sports and my dream has always been to work in the sports industry. When I became a scuba diver and started meeting positive people, I immediately knew that this was going to be my chance to fulfil my dream.

How do you think you’ve changed personally and professionally as you’ve moved up the ranks to become an Elite Instructor?                                                            Today, many people are attracted by scuba diving in order to escape the daily routine and the usual problems and commitments in their lives. I think that a successful instructor should be in the position to offer as many scuba diving activities as possible (recreational, specialties and Tec) in order to meet the customers’ needs and desires. Personally, I did exactly this!

Which PADI courses do you enjoy teaching the most and why?                                 Now, I can teach almost all the specialties with open circuit. I like diving and teaching in all environments; my favourites, however, are deep and wreck, especially on a recreational technical setup. The TecRec programs offer both the instructor and the client a chance to dive in an environment accessible to few, a sort of scuba diving elite group, where the technical preparation and personal fitness are vital.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your diving career?            Becoming a PADI Course Director! Having the possibility to pass on my passion, while training not only students but also instructors, is definitely the biggest reward.

What does diving give you that nothing else does?                                                Diving gives me the possibility to escape from my daily life, to enter an environment where interacting with the underwater life is so intense that everything else disappears. An escape from reality!

Did you have to overcome any fears, challenges or obstacles to get where you are now in your diving career?                                                                                       The commitment to get where I am now has been considerable. The PADI educational system, however, is very efficient and systematic at every level. You just need to believe in what you are doing and focus. You will succeed!

Do you believe you change others’ lives through diving?                                     Absolutely! People discover an extraordinary and exciting activity. Lately, more and more students get into scuba diving with an eye to becoming professionals; many become instructors to work full time in scuba diving. To date, I have trained instructors that are working in the most beautiful locations in the world: Red Sea, Maldives, Micronesia, etc.

Describe in a few sentences how you would convince a non-diver to learn to dive?                                                                                                                                  There is a very effective video, on the internet, showing the difference between the life of an employee and that of a scuba diving instructor. The morning wake up and the daily routine in the city, for the employee, the beach and the sea for the instructor. In a few minutes you have the best representation of what is the scuba diving lifestyle.

As a PADI Elite Instructor how does it feel being recognised as one of PADI’s top performing Instructors in 2016?                                                                                     Being an Elite Instructor is definitely a great recognition for the work done and an incentive to improve. In 2016, I issued over 200 certifications: this is hard to beat. But the important thing is to always do your best, without focusing too much on one objective; if you do your job the best you can, you will always achieve some new, important objectives.

What does “My PADI” mean to you?                                                                             For me, My PADI is a lifestyle, a chance to make dreams come true! One of my favourite quotes is: if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life!

What would you say to other PADI Instructors hoping to become Elite Instructors?   I would tell them to always work to the best of their abilities, following the standards and procedures unique to the best scuba diving training agency in the world… PADI!

 

 

PADI Elite Instructor Interview: Kerrie Eade, PADI Course Director

Kerrie Eade, PADI Course Director and owner of PADI 5 Star IDC Center Ocean Turtle Diving, achieved the status of PADI Elite Instructor 2016 – an award which recognises the efforts and accomplishments of PADI’s top performing instructors around the world.

We spoke to Kerrie to find out what being a PADI Elite Instructor means to her, as well as learning about her achievements and future aspirations as a PADI Professional.


What inspired you to become a PADI Pro?                                                                     I learnt to dive in the 90’s and was surrounded by male divers.  I felt, even then that more women should get into diving, both at recreational and professional level.  I loved the challenge of proving myself in this dive environment, so after my PADI Rescue Diver course I decided to become a PADI Divemaster, and the rest is history!

How do you think you’ve changed personally and professionally as you’ve moved up the ranks to become an Elite Instructor?                                                                 My journey has been so much fun and quite literally life changing.  As a PADI Divemaster, I moved to Spain and started working as a dive guide and eventually became a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor. I decided I wanted to stay in the dive industry, so when my local dive centre went up for sale, I bought it!  So professionally I have progressed to become a PADI Course Director and dive centre owner, and I have never felt so alive and challenged.

Which PADI courses do you enjoy teaching the most and why?                                   I love teaching the PADI Rescue Diver course as it’s such a positive experience for the participants and I love watching them grow in confidence.  I also love teaching Instructor Development Courses as I get share the instructor candidates’ highs and lows and really make a difference.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your diving career?                   Achieving my PADI Course Director in 2016 is my greatest achievement in diving – closely followed by turning around a failing dive centre into the rip roaring success that Ocean Turtle Diving is today.

What does diving give you that nothing else does?                                                   Peace.  I have two young children and a very busy and demanding business with many staff and customers.  When I dive I get time to myself – peace, tranquillity, relaxation and space.

Did you have to overcome any fears, challenges or obstacles to get where you are now in your diving career?                                                                                         My greatest challenge was, and still is, time.  With a young family it’s hard to carve out enough time to teach, to run the business, to expand the business, to enjoy fun diving and to be mum and wife!  I often work 7 days a week, but I try and chop out segments on many of those days to spend time with my family.  Luckily my husband is great and very tolerant of me and my passion!

Do you believe you change others’ lives through diving?                              Undoubtedly, but I wouldn’t dream of taking credit for that!  The divers are the ones who have taken action and are changing their lives for the better.  Ocean Turtle’s Missions Statement is “Changing Lives and Making Dreams Come True” – it’s emblazoned on the wall of the dive centre and we do our best to live up to it every day.

Describe in a few sentences how you would convince a non-diver to learn to dive?
I would never convince someone who doesn’t want to learn to dive that they should BUT I do always spend time getting to know someone and to find out what they are interested in.  From that, there is normally something in their life (photography, exploration, travel, history etc..) that they are passionate about and that can be satiated in a new and interesting way by doing it underwater!

As a PADI Elite Instructor how does it feel being recognised as one of PADI’s top performing Instructors in 2016?      
It’s very humbling.  I don’t feel that I do more or less than the guys and girls around me – we have a great team at Ocean Turtle and we all work very hard. This year we are on track for at least 4 of us getting this prestigious award – which I am super proud of.  To me it shows that even if the industry isn’t basking in the glory days, you can still give a great service and add true value. There are still plenty of people out there who want to learn to dive and crucially want to keep diving and expanding their knowledge.

What does “My PADI” mean to you?                                                                                To me PADI is a big supportive and protective arm around me – I am fortunate to have an amazing team who encourage me, push me, challenge me and support me.

What would you say to other PADI Instructors hoping to become Elite Instructors?                                                                                                                        It’s not about numbers.  Concentrate on giving each and every student / candidate / customer / diver a great experience, the benefit of your time and experience, and the rest will fall into place by itself.

 

 

PADI Elite Instructor Interview: Jordan Topkoski, PADI Master Instructor

Jordan Topkoski, PADI Master Instructor, achieved the status of PADI Elite Instructor 2016 – an award which recognises the efforts and accomplishments of PADI’s top performing instructors around the world.

We spoke to Jordan to find out what being a PADI Elite Instructor means to him, as well as learning about his achievements and future aspirations as a PADI Professional.


 What inspired you to become a PADI Pro?                                                                 Recreational diving allowed me to see the most amazing things and having the most incredible time. It inspired me to share these extraordinary experiences with others, who as far as I was concerned were missing so much! And what a better way to do it than by becoming a professional diver!

How do you think you’ve changed personally and professionally as you’ve moved up the ranks to become an Elite Instructor?                                                           Instructor I have always been eager to learn more and move up the PADI ladder. I always read the PADI updates and standards so I can stay up to date and maintain a good professional reputation amongst my diving peers. Personally I have become more adventurous, wanting to explore more and more each day, which certainly keeps me active on both a physical and a psychological level.

 Which PADI courses do you enjoy teaching the most and why?                                  If I have to choose, I would say the PADI Open Water Diver course because this not only teaches diving but introduces people to the joys of diving! Seeing the smile on each student when they receive their certification card makes me feel proud that it was me who has introduced them to a whole new world.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your diving career?                My greatest achievement in diving has to be the day my PADI Instructor Examiner shook my hand and handed me my PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor certificate. Of course since then there have been many other achievements since such as receiving my PADI Certificate for Recognition of Excellence and now the PADI Elite Instructor Award. At the end of the day nothing beats the achievement you feel when you successfully get a candidate through a PADI course.

What does diving give you that nothing else does?                                                   The feeling of freedom when exploring the underwater world truly amazes me and it is something I never get tired of.

Did you have to overcome any fears, challenges or obstacles to get where you are now in your diving career?                                                                                             Absolutely! For a long time I simply didn’t like being anywhere near water! Learning to dive and understanding how to see and breathe underwater definitely helped me to overcome this fear. Now I simply love being underwater and in fact I enjoy all types of watersports.

Do you believe you change others’ lives through diving?                                       Yes! Although it really isn’t that difficult to change lives out here in the Red Sea, especially in Dahab, where we have plentiful marine life and spectacular local reefs.

Describe in a few sentences how you would convince a non-diver to learn to dive? If they were an adventure seeking type I’d say we have something here they don’t have a chance to try every day, which I was absolutely certain they’d not only love- but that they’d be able to enjoy for the rest of their lives.

As a PADI Elite Instructor how does it feel being recognised as one of PADI’s top performing Instructors in 2016?                                                                                   The feeling is amazing. I never thought I would rise to be part of the “Elite” but it shows that with determination, hard work and passion anything is achievable. Proud is the only word I can use to explain my feelings.

What does “My PADI” mean to you?                                                                         PADI introduced me to the world of diving and ultimately changed the course of my life. Professionally I believe it’s a well organised system that imparts the required knowledge to dive safely in a simple, fun and easy package. As a result, it has rightly earned its place as the world’s premier training agency and through its accessibility brought fun and enjoyment to millions.

What would you say to other PADI Instructors hoping to become Elite Instructors? If you are passionate about diving and love the lifestyle you lead as a PADI professional it shouldn’t be too difficult to put in that extra mile. Never give up on your students – and before you know it you will be well on your way to becoming an Elite Instructor.

 

Dive Into the World of Professional Freediving – Become a PADI Freediver Instructor

PADIHas freediving cast its spell on you, holding you in its net of wonder forever? Are you ready to challenge yourself and take your freediving to another level? You want to move away from recreational freediving and dive into the world of professional freediving?

Becoming a PADI Freediver Instructor will be your passport into the world of professional freediving; teaching others to redefine their limits by experiencing ultimate freedom beneath the surface.

Becoming a PADI Freediver Instructor is not only a question of acquiring the necessary knowledge and understanding but also of achieving exceptional skill and endurance levels that allows you to safely and comfortably demonstrate to your students how to perform dives.

In order to enrol on the PADI Freediver Instructor course you must be physically and mentally prepared for a minimum of four days of classroom and inwater sessions.

There are three Instructor-level certifications for PADI Freedivers.

  1. PADI Freediver Instructor: You are authorised to teach PADI Freediver and Basic Freediver.
  2. PADI Advanced Freediver Instructor:  You can teach all diver levels through to PADI Advanced Freediver.
  3. PADI Master Freediver Instructor: You can teach all diver levels including PADI Master Freediver.

There are two paths to earning the PADI Freediver Instructor rating. The first is for experienced freedivers who gain instructional skills by attending a PADI Freediver Instructor Training Course. The second path is for current freediver instructors who want to join the PADI organisation by attending a PADI Freediver Instructor Orientation.

Note that PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors (or higher rating) who are also experienced freedivers and have a PADI Advanced Freediver certification may apply directly for the rating by submitting a PADI Freediver Instructor Application to your PADI Regional Headquarters.

There really is something about this sport that takes people under its spell…we will leave it to you to teach others to discover it for themselves.

If you’d like further information on how to become a PADI Freediver Instructor, please contact our Training Department

 

Meet Dive Business Management Graduate, Natasha Robinson

Meet UK based PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor Natasha Robinson, one of our first  Dive Business Management graduates. We caught up with Natasha to find out more about her experience and what she wanted to get out of the course.

On 10th September 2016 I started my PADI Instructor Development Course with Course Director Steve Prior. This wasn’t an ordinary IDC – we were amongst the first to participate in the new combined PADI IDC and Oxford Cambridge and RSA curriculum (OCR) Level 3 Dive Business Management course!

This was a perfect course combination allowing me to not only become a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor but also achieve a Level 3 Diploma in Dive Business Management, giving me the skills I would need to run a successful dive business.

The Dive Business Management course consists of online self-study in addition to classroom based workshops. There is a good cross over between the IDC sections and the OCR modules. For instance the modules Principles of Business, Managing Physical Resources, Manage a Project and Procure Products and/or Services built very nicely onto the IDC chapters on Marketing Diving and the Business of Diving.

 

 

 

 

Another key part of the Dive Business Management course was learning about how to manage staff professional development. We explored how employees have different needs depending on their work motivation, their tenure in role, their own personal aspirations and how being aware of these helps adapt your management style to avoid conflict and be a more supportive and successful manager.

During my IE on 3rd – 4th December 2016, my IE Examiner, Erika Hoffman, assessed our wet and dry presentations for our OCR portfolio – another good example of how closely linked the courses are. The IE was a busy but overall enjoyable weekend and I was thrilled when Erika finally shook my hand and congratulated me on becoming a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor.

Over the following weeks I worked through the remaining on-line topics, ready for final evaluation.                   On 9th January 2017, White Rose confirmed that I had successfully completed my OCR Level 3 Diploma in Dive Business Management!

Incorporating the OCR Level 3 Dive Business Management course with the IDC equipped me with skills needed to run a dive business. My Course Director also found the experience rewarding and is excited about the new elements we can bring to teaching to help better develop future instructors.

Since completing my IE, I have been working with Ocean View to see how my Dive Business Management diploma can be used to support them and my teaching schedule.  Getting involved in the business side of diving interests me just as much as teaching, so I am excited about my future and where my diving career will take me!

Natasha Robinson

 

New Course Director in Egypt – Wael Elshahat

IMG_6012<< I started diving in 1998  …I always dreamed to dive, especially after seeing some underwater videos; therefore, as soon as I had a chance I did my PADI Open Water Course!

In 1999, I finished my university and started working as an accountant in a big diving company in Sharm el Sheikh / Red Sea; this gave me the opportunity to keep on diving and, at the same time, continue my education …until I became Divemaster and consequently PADI Instructor in 2002.

I love teaching and the feelings you have when you share your knowledge and experience to help others to become good divers and love scuba diving!

My ambition, as PADI Course Director, is to teach candidates how to be good Instructors and sustain them during their career so that they can become not only great ambassadors but also role models as PADI professionals >>.

Congratulations to Wael for successfully completing his CDTC !

PADI Pioneers: Generating Ocean Warriors in the Maldives

In a quiet corner of a luxury resort in the Maldives you’ll find an PADI Five Star IDC centre quite unlike any other.

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Teaching Maldivians to scuba dive might seem to some like selling coals to Newcastle. Wherever you stand in the Maldives, you’re always barely a stone’s throw from the ocean, and many Maldivians can swim before they can walk. Diving is in the country’s DNA.

It could come as a surprise to some then, that until the mid-2000s, there were only a handful of places offering PADI Instructor Development Courses in the country, with many aspiring instructors actually having to travel to Thailand to complete their certifications.

Founding an Institution

Luckily, this didn’t go unnoticed by Hussain ‘Sendi’ Rasheed, the Maldives’ first and only PADI Course Director and in 2006, he decided to do something about it. Working at the time as the operations manager of Holiday Island Resort & Spa, part of the Villa conglomerate, Sendi approached the company chairman – the Hon. Qasim Ibrahim – and shared his concerns about the lack of educational opportunities for local dive and water sport professionals.

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The conversation would not only change his own life, but would ultimately change the face of diving education in the Maldives. Convinced by the lack of Maldivian educational facilities for divers, Mr Ibrahim asked Sendi to oversee the development of an institution that would change all that. Like Sendi, he wanted to provide a space for Maldivians to become qualified leaders in the diving field. And with that, The Villa Institute of Water Sports and Hospitality was born the same year.

A Place in the Sun

Purpose-built in a quiet corner of Sun Island Resort & Spa (another Villa Hotel), the institute quickly became a hub for young dive and water sports enthusiasts hoping to make a career in the industry. With spacious student and teacher accommodation and modern classrooms overlooking a lagoon that welcomes whale sharks and manta rays to its outer reef, the establishment is enough to make any Course Director drool.

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But what makes the institute really special is what it aims to achieve. Its objective? To equip a new generation of certified PADI Dive Masters and Instructors with the skills needed to become not only leaders in the field of recreational diving tourism but also trailblazers in ecological advocacy.

Expansion and Diversification

Lofty goals to say the least, but within a few short years it has managed to do just that. After a restructuring to become the founding faculty of Villa College, (now the Maldives’ leading private education provider offering courses in everything from marketing to law) and an expansion to include facilities in the capital, the reigns were handed over to Dr. Sham’aa ‘Anna’ Hameed. Under her leadership and the close involvement of Sendi, the institute is well on track to realise its vision.

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Not only does the faculty run multiple PADI Instructor Development Courses throughout the year, it now offers Certificate Three, foundation and even degree courses in marine studies that offer PADI electives as course credit.

Ocean Warriors

These courses provide students with the tools to become innovators in the field of marine studies. As a result, graduating students go on to enter the Maldivian workforce in a number of roles: as dive and water sports instructors of course, but also as researchers, marine biologists, wildlife rangers, even government environmental officials and legislators.

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What started as an initiative of affirmative action to provide quality education and training for locals has now developed into an educational model that is forward thinking on an international level. As such, they are arming a legion of self-titled ‘Ocean Warriors’ with the skills to be the next generation of environmental guardians and leaders in the Maldivian diving industry.

 

About the author: Adele Verdier-Ali is a freelance travel writer and content marketer who has been living in the Maldives for over six years. She’s a certified PADI rescue diver and when she’s not underwater, she writes about Maldivian culture and tourism. You can read more of her thoughts over on www.littlebirdjournal.com

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No Limit Diving

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Cast your mind back to that moment when you decided that you wanted to become a PADI Pro. It may have been what got you started diving or it may have been during one of your courses when you had that Eureka moment and decided that teaching divers to dive was for you. No matter when you started you immediately had that thirst for knowledge and wanted to learn  more.

Generally most people start their professional path with the rescue course. Besides learning many important rescue skills you would have also learnt many new Physiological terms that you may not have previous encountered. Things like Arterial Gas embolisms, Sub Cutaneous Emphysemas and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. Your quest for knowledge was unending and you sought out seasoned instructors to feed you with the knowledge you craved.

Then you started your Divemaster course. Again there was so much to learn, both in the classroom and underwater. Theory became even more daunting, physics was a nightmare and would you ever master decompression theory and the Recreational Dive Planner? But you studied hard, practised your diving skills repeatedly and that day finally dawned when you could stand proud as one of the elite, a PADI Divemaster.

Onwards and upwards, next came your \instructor development course. Seven to ten days of early mornings and late nights, cramming in as much knowledge as possible. From knowledge development presentations, Dive Theory, General Standards and procedures you worked late into the night to get it all perfected for the Instructor Exam.

Once again you stood proud, this time as a PADI Instructor. Ready to start teaching people how to dive. And so you did. And you are a good instructor, training divers the way they should be taught. But what have you done to further your knowledge since becoming an instructor?

Its important that as a PADI Instructor that you should continue with your own personal development. The more knowledgeable you are, the better an instructor you will be. Its easy to stay up to date.

Make sure you register for the quarterly training bulletins. Ensure that you download the latest instructor manual as part of your yearly renewal benefit. Read the PADI blogs that appear monthly. Further develop your training. Sign up for speciality courses with a PADI Course director thereby ensuring that you gain from their knowledge. Read diving magazines and publications. Do equipment servicing courses with equipment manufacturers.Make the effort to develop yourself and your students will ultimately be the ones to benefit the most.

Do not stop learning. Do not limit yourself. No limit diving.

2017 Instructor Development Events in the Maldives

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PADI is Delighted to announce two Instructor Development events taking place on Paradise Island, Maldives.

  • Instructor Development Update – 26th April 2017 (PADI IDC Staff and above)
  • PADI Advanced Training Academy – 27th April 2017 (PADI OWSI and above)

These exciting, informative and highly interactive one day programmes, for PADI professionals, continue to gather momentum. PADI Pros are coming away with new, refreshed and refined knowledge and skills, energising them to drive their diving businesses forward.

The Instructor Development Update on 26th April on Paradise Island, Maldives, is for Course Directors and IDC Staff Instructors to update their knowledge of the instructor development system. The Update includes presentations, workshops, and a live confined water evaluation practice during which attendees have the chance to watch a role play confined water presentation alongside an Instructor Examiner, and gain feedback on their evaluation techniques.

The Update will count towards Master Instructor and CDTC applications, as well as provide the necessary update for PADI Course Directors. Click below to register.

2017 ID Update Registration Form

Join the PADI Advanced Training Academy taking place on 27th April on Paradise Island, Maldives. This one day programme is for PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors and above, offering the opportunity to further develop instructional skills, under the direction of PADI experts

Current topics and workshops* include:

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  • The role of the PADI Pro within the diving industry and in relation to PADI
  • How to make your PADI courses stand out
  • Review of new PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course
  • Review of the way PADI courses develop a diver
  • The role of Specialties in a diver’s development
  • Project AWARE Dive Against Debris (including free instructor specialty rating) or other local programme

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  • Rescue Exercise #7 – proper technique, kit handling, airway, use of barrier
  • Emergency Weight Drop, Loose Cylinder Band, CESA and Alternate Air Source skills – why we teach them and how to improve our teaching methods of these skills

With both dry and in-water components, this advanced training programme for PADI Pros increases individual expertise and allows participants to network, build new friendships and learn from each other. Programme attendance also provides credit for Master Instructor and CDTC applications.

2017 PATA Registration Form

Accommodation, Transport and Meals

  • Visiting members who wish to stay at Paradise Island: US$ 195 per night on FB, SGL. (work permit holders only)
  • Transfer by staff ferry to paradise and exit the same day for members joining in from Male’ & other resorts: FOC (subject to space availability)
  •  Special rate for meals:  US$ 25 per meal (main restaurant buffet) for members not opting for the overnight stay option.

Please indicate at time of booking if you need assistance with accommodation, transport and meals.

Contact id.emea@padi.com with any questions.

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