How does one go from student to divemaster with Wicked Diving? One of Wicked Diving’s activities with local communities is to train divermasters and provide them with Wicked Diving employment opportunities.
The first stage of this process is for Wicked Diving’s team of teachers to visit the local tourism school in Labuan Bajo. From threats to the marine environment to information about how many eggs a turtle lays, we aim to give students a much broader view of what they can find right on their doorstep in Komodo National Park. In addition, students were also given an inspirational talk by one of their peers, Marsel, a Wicked divemasters and a Flores local. The aim of these classes is to inspire pride in the local area and give more information about how and why students might aspire to work within the dive industry.
The next stage is interviews since our program is not only theory based. Our intention is to take some of the more promising and enthusiastic students through a series of practical lessons, which will begin with swimming and then some students learn how to dive. Ultimately, candidates from student to divemaster with Wicked Diving work their way through the dive certifications to finally reach Stress and Rescue diver and then ultimately to become SSI Dive Guides. However, with 86 students in the class, and to ensure success and further learning, it is impossible in our time frame to provide practical training in these areas to all the students. It is a difficult task of whittling down these smiling and hopeful students to a smaller number!
We start the interviews on a student by student basis. In evaluating a candidate for the journey from student to divemaster with Wicked Diving, we are looking for good command of English, ambition and a real desire to work within the dive industry. It’s a really tough job, and many students want to be given this great opportunity. The wonderful thing we realised throughout the initial interview process was how effective our classroom sessions had been. Many students cited a newly discovered love for the underwater environment and for marine conservation. We also received feedback that the students had thought it impossible to start work within the dive industry and now see the possibilities, as well as what skills they need to be successful.
Our goals are two-fold and the swimming lessons are split into 2 groups. Complete beginners in one group, and those who can already swim in a second. We provide important life skills to those students who cannot yet swim for whatever employment they seek in the future, living on an island nation and working in tourism will most likely mean exposure to water, be it swimming pools, waterfalls or the sea. By learning how to swim they can be more confident and safe around the water.
We are blessed to see some very promising individuals, some of whom have a real hunger to become dive guides, and even some students with family members who work within the industry already. One of the really inspiring finding is that so far, we have just as many females as males. The lesson in it all is to reach for your dreams and never stop believing in yourself!
Imagine what it must be like to have never seen beneath the surface of the sea before, and you take that first dive into an kaleidoscope of unimaginable color, diversely shaped reefs, and before you know it, your are surrounded by a school of fish. Such a novel and beautiful experience can do nothing but bring one to fall in love with the sea and this was the hope for our Wicked Good dive guides.
Next, we will introduce you to some of our successful dive guides, those who have made it from student to divemaster with Wicked Diving…stay tuned!