When it comes to dive businesses, it’s well documented that the quality of tuition and experience of the operator plays a big part. Without a doubt, whether it’s an Open Water course or going pro as an instructor or even reaching the grand heights of PADI Course Director, there are many factors to consider and let’s be honest, with so many options, it can be a little overwhelming.
What we at Rainbow Divers have always stuck to, is the notion that if we keep our professionals actively interested in the PADI way of learning, we will always offer the best quality course.
Nha Trang (and Vietnam as a whole) has increased in popularity in ways nobody could imagine, but as we were the pioneers in this gorgeous country, we are confident that we have the biggest breadth of knowledge; this coupled with our belief in the PADI system has seen us deliver literally thousands of courses over the years.
But it’s not just our experience that keeps our students happy, it’s our team. With a growing number of Chinese tourists choosing Vietnam as their place to learn to dive, it seems only natural to have a diverse management team. Our Master and Chief Jeremy Stein is not only our founder and PADI Course Director, but there is also Mr Samuel Wong. A dedicated PADI instructor with years of experience under his belt, Sam has been offering expert scuba tuition for a while here at Rainbow Divers. What makes our place really stand out right now, is that Sam recently qualified as a PADI Scuba Diving Course Director.
For those not in the know, Course Director is about as experienced as it gets; it means that the person in question not only has the highest level of respect for the world-renowned PADI system, but it also means that an individual has gained countless hands-on hours of teaching, making them the most valuable members of our community.
That’s right, Rainbow Divers now has TWO onsite PADI Course Directors, which means that training as a PADI Divemaster or even as a hallowed Open Water Scuba Instructor has never been better value!
We are very proud of our new Course Director, and below is an interview we did with him recently that gives you an idea of what it takes to reach the pinnacle of instructor-dom.
RD: So, to start us off, what made you decide to take the next step and become a PADI Course Director?
SAM: There are a few reasons I wanted to become a PADI Course Director. Not only my perpetual passion in the diving industry, but also, the faith I have in PADI’s dive education system which I have worked in for a lot of years now.
Coupled with my professional experience, the recognisable status and confidence, it gives me the opportunity to share and role model the PADI instructional system, Standards and philosophy in the Instructor Development area where I can “create” my own team of PADI instructors. This is really exciting for me.
RD: Compared to your expectations, how challenging was the course?
SAM: I went in with an open mind to learn and gain experience and of course with an expectation to make it through first time. The course started on the 15th March with an orientation presentation by James Morgan, Vice President PADI Americas and ended on the 23rd March with a graduation ceremony banquet and certification presentation to the successful candidates.
It has been a challenging 9 days of non-stop classroom presentation by the various mentors, assignment preparation from IDC to CD level, workshops, Free Diver course, Oxygen Provider Trainer course, Confined Water and Open Water sessions. A lot of work for the candidates but also for me!
What I found most challenging was to present myself in front of the other experienced candidates while being evaluated by the mentors. Even after all these years, I found myself getting a little nervous. However, the experience allowed me to develop a better sense of empathy that I could use with all my future IDC candidates especially during the critique and counselling session.
RD: Now you’re a PADI Course Director, you’re in an elite group…how will it change your daily work and your current role?
SAM: On daily work basis, it should not change my tenacity of being a PADI scuba diving instructor. Having said that, I now have the freedom to step back on occasion. This will help to provide opportunity for other instructors who are looking to increase their teaching experience. At Rainbow, we are very fortunate to have a hard working team.
Apart from lending my support, supervision and providing pro-level continued education to the other instructors, my role can now be expanded into the marketing and business of the instructor development sector in particular, the Chinese market IDC; it’s something I’m incredibly excited about as, there is certainly a gap in the market here in Nha Trang.
RD: Rainbow Divers is not only the most established dive centre in Vietnam, but it now also has TWO Course Directors on site! What benefit do you think this has for customers and students?
Sam at the Course Director presentation evening with Alan Jan – Manager of Instructor Development.
SAM: I think it will be great customer service having 2 Course Directors in the centre. It should elevate the professional image of Rainbow Divers in terms of all diving needs. Candidates will benefit from the experience both Jeremy and I have.
Having two Course Directors will allow us to team teach and complement each other in unforeseen circumstances in the event either one of us cannot be available. On the other hand, as a freshly graduated Course Director, I do have a lot to learn from the other experienced Course Directors like Jeremy.
RD: The hard work is over for now and you’re a PADI Course Director…how do you plan to celebrate?
SAM: I Haven’t thought much about celebration yet as although I’m happy and relieved that it’s over, I’m very exhausted. So the first thing I would do is to have a good sleep.
Perhaps then I will celebrate with those who have supported and guided me for the CDTC with a roast duck dinner and champagne. After that? The usual really, which is to continue having the best job in the world 🙂
Are you an Open Water Diver and interested in becoming a PADI Professional then why not check out our Divemaster page for more details.