Thank you Alex for the interview. (Credit: Alex Shlyakhov – Dai Love)
Blue Marlin Komodo and Blue Marlin Gili Air now host an IDC program taught by PADI Course Director and seasoned diver Matt Fieschi at both locations alternately. Recently, we decided to sit down with Matt in the tranquil Gili islands to get answers to the most common questions he receives from potential PADI Instructors (aka PADI Divemasters). This is that discussion…
1. Ok Matt, commençons simple: Pourquoi devrais-je suivre l’Instructor Development Course PADI?
“As a PADI Divemaster, you’re already a professional diver. This is a way to become more employable. That said, you also get to increase your overall knowledge about diving through teaching. As a PADI Instructor, you will become well versed in the practices and high-standards of the world’s leading certification agency. PADI’s reach works to your advantage because you can seek employment as an instructor worldwide.
The opportunity to be able to travel and work in some truly breathtaking locations around the world is great, but as a PADI Instructor, you get the added bonus of helping people achieve goals and help them to discover another world of wonders…”
2. Quels sont les prérequis pour un IDC PADI?
“Firstly, you need to be a PADI Divemaster or have an equivalent level of certification from another agency. It’s much better to be a PADI Divemaster because you’ll already be used to the wording and structure of the course. To start the course you need 60 logged dives… but, in reality, you should have more like at least 90 – 95 because you need 100 to go to the IE (Instructor Examination).
In a perfect world, those dives would be in a variety of conditions and locations. You will also need to be a certified diver for at least six months and hold a medical clearance attesting to dive fitness signed by a physician within the previous 12 months”
3. Que dois-je attendre de ce cours?
“I want to answer this in a creative way. First, you should know that you will become a person that’s going to change people’s lives. That might sound overdramatic, but imagine your own first dive and who was teaching you. Considering that you’re now thinking about doing your IDC, I’d say that person changed your life!
Second, you should know that after becoming a PADI Instructor, your work/life balance is fantastic. Finding that balance is increasingly popular these days, so you’re already ahead of the game!
Finally, be aware that it’s a challenging program; it takes a lot of energy and effort, but that’s the point – you want to master the skills and let them become second nature to you so that you don’t have to think about what you’re teaching and instead just how you’re teaching.”
4. Alors, est-ce que je vais apprendre quelque chose de nouveau pendant l’IDC PADI?
“Obviously, you’ll polish up on skills from your Divemaster course, master them actually, along with the PADI standards and learn how to keep safety as the absolute priority while teaching. PADI’s teaching methods and course structure is critical to their worldwide growth.
I make the IDC as fun as possible for the specific purpose that you can make your courses fun as an instructor. It’s an often overlooked skill, but the best instructors have their students raving about them long afterwards.”
5. Combien de temps faut-il pour devenir un instructeur PADI?
“The course itself is 15 days, including two days of practice exams and two rest (or dive) days – you’re going to be exhausted so those rest days will come in handy. In addition, I teach a skill and theory refresher the day before the course which is not compulsory, but recommended so that we’re all working with the same knowledge base.
Following on from the course there will be 2 days of exams with the PADI representative. When you pass, it takes about 5 business days to process you to active teaching status. During those 5 days, you can enrol in the MSDT (Master Scuba Diver Trainer) prep program with me so that you don’t have to waste time while you wait. Total? 23 days in total from the pre-course to active teaching status.”
6. Quel est le coût total?
“This is a more complicated question than it seems because usually there are three different currencies involved as well as PADI fees and learning materials. That said, let’s give it a shot…
The minimum cost, inclusive of all Blue Marlin and PADI fees as well as course materials, is roughly USD $2,800. You’ll find that this cost doesn’t vary too much around the world, but you will be able to save money on living expenses within Indonesia compared to other locations. If you also wish to enrol in the MSDT prep course, the final cost will be about USD $3,300.”
7. Comment puis-je trouver du travail en tant qu’instructeur PADI? Est-ce que j’ai besoin de mon MSDT?
“In theory, you can begin to certify your own divers immediately. There are certain factors that make you more employable such as speaking another language, having certifications for equipment repair or boat maintenance.
Of course, experience and specialities are important as well, which is the purpose of the MSDT prep course. You’ll be able to teach 5 specialities AND you can hang around the dive resort and team teach with our instructors to gain experience and certifications. With 25 certifications, you can actually earn your MSDT from PADI.
Obviously, neither Blue Marlin nor I personally can guarantee any jobs after the course, but we provide a great support structure to give you the best opportunity. We’re willing to help you with writing a CV and getting in touch with other dive centres in our network, and around the world.
If you wish to stay in Indonesia, the industry here is growing and it is definitely a tight-knit community. We’ll do our best to put you in touch with the right people. Plus, there are a lot of liveaboards down here which is another great opportunity.”
8. Y-a-t-il des tests physiques?
“You have to be able to swim 800 metres and be in good physical condition. Don’t worry, no snorkel tests..!”
9. Que se passe-t-il si je ne réussis pas l’examen d’instructeur?
“Everyone will leave for the IE fully prepared to pass, but sometimes nerves get the best of people. They’re nervous perhaps because it’s expensive, or they don’t like exams. The idea of my IDC is to make sure that those nerves are settled well in advance because you’re thoroughly prepared. But, in the unlikely event someone fails, they can come to my next IDC for free.”
10. Pourquoi devrais je faire mon IDC avec Blue Marlin Gili Air ou Blue Marlin Komodo? Quelle est la différence?
“Gili Air is a very chilled island with a nice lifestyle where you don’t have any cars or motorbikes. It has a good balance between living a relaxed life and having entertainment/social life which makes it a nice place for both living and doing your Instructor Development Course. The diving is really good and the dive centre has 25 years of experience behind Blue Marlin. It’s also the newest facility and has direct access to the sea from the shop, offering greater flexibility for both the IDC and the MSDT prep program.
Labuan Bajo is a small but rapidly growing fishing village that is the undisputed gateway to Komodo National Park (hence, Blue Marlin Komodo). It’s famous for the Komodo dragons, but the diving is absolutely world class. The small, but sociable town is comprised of a mix of local divers and expats which leads to an active social life talking about diving and experiences (usually at the Blue Marlin restaurant!). We have the fastest speedboat in town which gives us the greatest flexibility to dive the national park on our own schedule. We’re also the only PADI 5 Star Dive Resort with the town’s only dedicated diver-training pool and a remodelled classroom specifically for IDC’s.
Oh yeah! The MSDT prep program takes place on Blue Marlin’s own liveaboard, the Ikan Biru. That’s a big selling point. Finally, I’d say that if you stick around to do team teaching with Blue Marlin Komodo, you dive in a place known for strong currents, which in the end will help you become a better instructor.
Either way, Indonesia in general is a great place to take your IDC as well as work as a PADI Instructor. Compared to other places I’ve worked, it seems that there’s enough business to keep you employed/busy but the cost of living is low enough so you can actually save some money.”
11. OK, je veux le faire! Alors, une question moins commune … un petit mot sur toi?
“I did my PADI open water course back in 2006, in The Maldives. In 2007, I did my Divemaster Course there as well before becoming an instructor in Thailand at the end of the year. Since then, I’ve been working in The Maldives, Thailand, Italy, and Mexico.
I had to stop for a couple of years for personal reasons and during that time I went to school back home and achieved an hotel management degree. It was useful, but I missed diving. When I made the decision to go back to diving as a profession, I went to places I had been previously, but also made my way to Indonesia where I’m very happy to now be a PADI Course Director. I want to grow as a Course Director and improve – diving is a constant learning experience for everyone, me included. My goal is to never forget to have fun in life.”