Interview: PADI Course Director Zoona Naseem

Zoona Naseem is only the second Maldivian to have attained the rank of PADI Course Director, and the country’s first female to do so. She is the owner of Moodhu Bulhaa Dive Centre in Villingili Island, just 10 minutes away from the capital, and is passionate about getting young people diving. Here she shares her PADI journey, discusses what it’s like to be at the top of a male-dominated industry, and advises instructors on the best way to become a CD.

 What inspired you to become a PADI Pro?

I spent the first few years of my life in a small island in Noonu Atoll in the north of the Maldives, so I was always in the ocean as a child. I learnt how to swim at the same time I learnt how to walk. When I did my first dive at 17, honestly, I found it so easy that I thought to myself ‘Why isn’t everyone doing this? And why are there no female instructors?’ I think I knew after that first dive that I was going to become a PADI Pro.

How do you think you’ve changed as you’ve moved up the ranks to become a PADI Course Director?

I did my IDC when I was 18, straight after leaving school, so I’ve been a PADI Pro for my entire adult life. One of my first jobs was at a resort called Sun Island Resort & Spa and the dive centre was one of the busiest in the country at that time. It was like a dive factory! I got to teach every day and I really developed my skills as a teacher. Of course, later I learnt managerial skills as a dive centre manager but it’s my teaching skills that I am continually improving as I move up the ranks.

What will it mean to the Maldives to have its first female Course Director?

In the Maldives, there are still very few women working in the tourism industry, and I feel that this is down to a lot of lingering misconceptions about resorts amongst Maldivians. But in reality, resorts are fantastic places to work for women. You get exposed to so many different cultures, you save everything you earn and there are lots of opportunities for travel and training. So I think that with a female PADI Course Director working in the country, I can show people what a fantastic industry we are a part of, and what you can achieve as a PADI instructor. My greatest hope is that more women will follow my example, and I have set a personal goal to have two female Maldivian instructors working in my dive centre.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement in your diving career?

Becoming a Course Director. It was a long journey to get here, and I didn’t really even believe it was possible until recently. Nobody ever told me that this was an option for me! So it definitely feels like a big achievement. And my other greatest achievement, the thing that gives me great happiness, is seeing so many of my students now owning their own dive centres. They are leaders in the Maldivian dive industry, and I’m extremely proud of them.

What does diving give you that nothing else does?

On a personal level, when I’m diving, I get a sense of peace and happiness that I can’t find out of the water. There’s nothing in the world like diving. But as a diver, I also have the chance to be an advocate for our environment, to be a marine ambassador, and that’s a privilege.

Did you have to overcome any fears, challenges or obstacles to get where you are now in your diving career?

When I was working for Banyan Tree International, I was managing five dive centres, plus five water sports centres – so it was a real challenge. And at first, managing all those male employees proved a little tricky. They found it hard to accept a local female as their leader, but I didn’t give up! With a little patience and perseverance, the team soon saw that I knew what I was doing.

Do you believe PADI instructors change others’ lives through diving?

For sure! When you take someone underwater for the first time, they will always remember you. One of my strongest memories was of taking a blind student diving. He simply wanted to experience how it felt to be underwater; to be weightless. We have the chance to create amazing experiences for people, and to educate them about our fragile underwater ecosystems.

Describe in a few sentences how you would convince a non-diver to learn to dive?

Well in the Maldives, it’s pretty easy to convince people, because the best of this country is underwater. There’s not a boring second when you’re diving, and it’s extremely safe. Actually, being underwater is much safer than walking in the busy roads of our capital city!

PADI Course Director Zoona Naseem

What does “Be Best. Be PADI” mean to you?

 It’s simple. PADI is the best diving organisation in the world; there is no comparison. PADI changes lives!

What would you say to other PADI Instructors hoping to become PADI Course Directors?

 I would always encourage instructors to keep moving ahead, and to explore opportunities to increase their training, knowledge and experience. I tell everyone that becoming a PADI Course Director is an option open to them, you just have to work towards it.

What did you enjoy most about completing the PADI Course Director training?

The trainers were without doubt the best part of the course. Their presentations were so entertaining and creative that I honestly never lost focus. And just getting the chance to meet these incredible divers from all over the world and to work on group assignments with them was so enjoyable.

And lastly, what’s your favourite dive site in the Maldives?

Oh, that’s a hard question but I think I’ve got to say Embudu Express, which is a channel that we often visit with our dive centre. There can be dozens of sharks, huge schools of eagle rays, and abundant fish life. But every dive is different, and it depends on how you dive!

 

Welcome to our new PADI EMEA Course Directors

In July, the second 2017 International Course Director Training Course (CDTC) took place in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

During nine intensive days, working with PADI staff from Regional Headquarters, the selected Course Director candidates learn to market and teach PADI’s Instructor level training courses. Upon successful completion, candidates were awarded the esteemed rating of PADI Course Director.

We now welcome our newest PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa Course Directors and wish them much success with their Instructor Development businesses in 2017.

MARTIN PEDERSON DENMARK
CLARE DUTTON ENGLAND
MARGRIET SCHUUR ENGLAND
SU-LI WONG ENGLAND
ISABELLE TRUBLET FRANCE
OLIVIER CREYSSAC FRANCE
NAVEH HARRIS ISRAEL
JESSICA ROSSETTO ITALY
HAITHAM KHAIYAT SAUDI ARABIA
FOUAD AHMED ALHAKAMI SAUDI ARABIA
PEDRO A. C. MORENO SPAIN
NICOLAS LAATSCH SPAIN
MICHAL MOTYLEWSKI SPAIN
ANNA VIKER SWEDEN
JOSE CANCELA SWITZERLAND
MACIEJ GLOWALA-SLUPINSKI SWITZERLAND
MICHELINA COLELLA UAE
NICOLA LIDDEL UAE

To learn more about the Course Director Training Course or to apply for selection onto the programme click here

 

“Person of the Year”

“Person of the Year” of the Republic of Maldives

Maldives First PADI Course Director Mr.Hussain Rasheed Sendi was named “Person of the Year”  at Maldives Travel Awards People’s Edition by Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tourators (MATATO).

Sendi who is also the Managing Director of Dive Oceanus has been among the active dive industry professionals who have worked hard in training the youth as dive masters and instructors. His contribution to keep the marine industry safe is remarkable while his experience and knowledge to keep the diving industry going ahead by awareness programmes on species and environment have benefited the tourism industry and the nation.

The first event of Maldives Travel Awards People’s Edition has been held on 13th July at Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi in North Male’ Atoll.

Ten Individuals were honored with the title of “Person of the Year” at the special function. MATATO started the Nation’s first travel industry recognition brand in 2012 and succesfully deleivered Maldives Travel Award events in the country and a special edition in Dubai.

In 2017 MATATO has introduced 3 editions of Maldives Travel Awards, recognizing Guesthouses, People’s Edition and the Gala.

 

 

Join a 2017 PADI Advanced Training Academy

REGISTER NOW to take part in a 2017 PADI Advanced Training Academy

This exciting, informative and highly interactive one day program for PADI Divemasters (and above) continues to gather momentum as more and more PADI Pros take part. By registering for this action-packed program PADI Pros will gain new, refreshed and refined knowledge and skills, ultimately energizing them to drive their diving businesses forward.

Don’t take our word for it though, read what a 2016 Academy attendee thought of the program. 

Featuring both classroom and in-water components, the PADI Advanced Training Academy will improve PADI Pros’ individual expertise and encourage networking opportunities. Attendance also provides credit for Master Instructor and CDTC applications. See below for workshop information. *Topics and workshops are changed and updated at intervals to ensure the program remains current

Classroom Workshop

  • What’s new for 2017
  • Project AWARE 
  • Instructor Specialty or Safety Seminar 
  • Risk Management Workshop       

 

 

 

In-Water Workshop

  • Rescue Exercise #7 – technique, kit handling, airway, use of barrier 
  • Loose Cylinder Band
  • 5 Point Descent without contact with the bottom
  • CESA – why we teach CESA and how to improve our teaching methods of these skills

 

REGISTER NOW to take part in a 2017 PADI Advanced Training Academy!

Further programs will be scheduled throughout the year. If you have any questions please contact id.emea@padi.com 

 

PADI Continuing Education – Specialty Courses

Since you started diving, I´m sure you heard your Instructor saying, at least once a day, that it is important to continue your education. I´m sure you did – otherwise you would not have become a PADI Professional… But what is Continuing Education and why is it so important for yourself and the diving Industry in general? If you are familiar with the PADI system, you should know and understand that the continuing Education is the backbone of the PADI System.

 

 

Are you already a Specialty Instructor?

The Power of Continuing Education (CON-ED)

The power of the PADI system of diver education is its diversity in courses

  • From entry level all the way up to professional
  • All are standardized
  • Aim is to improve specific skills
  • Specialization improves the market value
  • Enough choices for everybody

It adds variety in teaching… Which means that you are not only stuck with the core course like the PADI Open Water Course, the PADI Advanced Open Water course or the PADI Rescue course. It connects in the same time to the interest of the student and improves the skills and therefore the safety of the divers.

Specialty courses can create different tracks to follow; For example it can add-on sales of diving equipment, or it will open a road to the PADI Master Scuba Diver certification.

It is essential that an Instructor in these days can offer various Specialty courses.

How many Specialty Certifications do you have?

What if I tell you that Specialties are the reason to become very successful in the diving industry? The more specialties you can teach and the more languages you can bring into a new position for a Dive Center – the more valuable you will become in the whole industry.

I can only highly recommend that you follow the Specialty Instructor Training! It will certainly build up your confidence and it will give you new insights. The more specialties you offer, the bigger your income can grow!

 

It shows to the Dive Center owner and to PADI that you understand the PADI philosophy – and together with the new Elite Instructor program – it will also be recognized by PADI.

How can you apply to become a PADI Specialty Instructor?

There are two ways to obtain the Specialty ratings:

  • The first is completing a PADI Specialty Instructor course with a PADI Course Director. This reduced the number of dives you must have – 10 versus 20 – showing experience in the specialty area.
  • If you already have the experience (min. 20 logged dives), you can apply directly to your PADI Regional Headquarters. You will find on the PADI Prosite the Specialty Instructor Application.

To summarize – If you offer a variety of courses – this will have a direct impact in your Dive Center.

Why?

Specialty certifications have a direct impact on equipment sales, because the courses are creating a demand for new equipment and it also triggers the lust for more adventure. At the end of the day you will have more satisfied customers and happier staff.

To push the PADI Continuing Education courses is the foundation for success! Because your Customers are always aiming for new experiences and challenges.

Check out the newest challenges for 2017

PADI Elite Instructor

2017 – MSD My PADI Challenge

 

 

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