At Aliwal Shoal Scuba, we’re eagerly awaiting the start of our PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC), which kicks off on February 9th 2017. One of the greatest thrills of our career is seeing divers achieve their dreams – whether that’s tutoring someone through their entry level course, or watching as they encounter sharks underwater for the first time. There’s something truly special about witnessing an IDC, however, because it is on this course that divers make the final transition from Divemaster to fully-fledged PADI professional.

Best of all, becoming an instructor means that our IDC students will soon be able to experience the thrill of teaching for themselves. After seven days of rigorous in-water training and classroom theory, IDC candidates are ready to sit their Instructor’s Examination (IE). Passing the IE means becoming eligible to teach all core PADI courses from Open Water Diver all the way up to Divemaster. This gives newly qualified instructors the power to enrich and even change other people’s lives in the same way that their past instructors once did for them.

So, what does becoming a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI) actually involve? At Aliwal Shoal Scuba, it entails a week-long course at one of the most sought-after dive destinations on Earth. Unlike past qualifications, the IDC isn’t about practising and perfecting new dive skills. Instead, it’s about mastering the art of teaching those skills to future students via established PADI methods and global standards. It’s a fascinating learning curve – and one that’s guaranteed to build confidence both in and out of the water.

The course is evenly split between the classroom, where candidates learn how to guide knowledge reviews, give lectures and explain diving theory; and our innovative on-site dive tank, where they learn how to accurately demonstrate dive skills in the water. There will also be lectures dedicated to the business of diving – i.e., how to set up and run a dive school, how to market oneself as an independent instructor, and how to calculate risk assessments and manage client safety. Of course, there will also be opportunities to practice in-water skills at sea.

This is where an Aliwal Shoal Scuba IDC stands out from other IDC venues around the world. There are very few places that offer the same calibre of diving as the Shoal; and even fewer that can match our reefs for the sheer diversity of their marine species. At this time of year, the Shoal provides a seasonal home for visiting tiger sharks, as well as a stop-off point for migratory pelagics including manta rays, whale sharks and scalloped hammerheads. The opportunity to encounter bucket list species like these makes our IDC exceptional.

Aliwal Shoal Scuba’s rates are also incredibly competitive. The February IDC will be offered at R17,990 per person – a price that includes backpacker accommodation for the duration of the course and an additional Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) qualification as standard. The MSDT qualification is a valuable bonus that puts our candidates ahead of the competition right out of the starting gate. It gives new instructors the training and certification required to teach five Specialty Courses in addition to the core PADI courses covered by the IDC.

There are many Specialty Courses to choose from, and Aliwal Shoal provides the necessary conditions for a few of the most exciting options – including Deep Diver, Wreck Diver, Drift Diver, Underwater Naturalist and Underwater Photographer. In the future, it’s possible to add more specialties to one’s repertoire – allowing the learning adventure to continue for many years to come. The more Specialty Courses a PADI Instructor has, the more valuable they become to potential employers.

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