I’ve achieved a lot since setting off on my solo adventure across the world, but I think my greatest achievement so far has definitely been completing my Divemaster traineeship. For me it was such a challenge and was a dream I never even really considered becoming a reality, so to now be able to say that I did it is the greatest feeling.
For anyone who doesn't know what a Divemaster traineeship is, it is basically where you work for a company in exchange for your training to become a certified Divemaster. Some offer payment and others simply offer to cover the cost of your training, so the experience varies between companies. In Cairns traineeships are pretty common and there are a lot of different options. I was pretty lucky in that I did receive payment while I was working and my practical training was covered, I did however have to pay for my online training and PADI fees but was given a discounted rate.
The length of a traineeship can vary also, so there is no definitive answer as to how long it can take. When I was offered the job I was advised it would roughly take between four and six months, depending on my eagerness to complete my online training and how busy the instructors are on the boat. I was able to complete my training in around four and a half months and I began as an Open Water Diver (the first PADI certification you can get). It was sometimes difficult to fit training in as it was done while we were working, but I think I completed my training in a fair amount of time.
When I wasn’t doing my training I was working on the boat, so that meant doing briefings for the customers, doing snorkel tours (which I loved) and general deck hand duties like mooring the boat at each site and cleaning all equipment and the boat itself each day. It was a lot of work and long hours, but it was hands down the most amazing job I’ve ever had. I absolutely love being in the water and seeing the reef everyday was absolutely incredible. There was a lot of responsibility that came with the role, especially leading a group of people on snorkel tours, but I really enjoyed the challenge.
While I was working I was lucky to have an amazing crew. On stressful or manic days we kept each other sane by having as much fun as we could and helping each other out and to stay calm. I made some amazing friends through this job and have so many awesome memories that will stay with me forever. It was by far the most challenging job I’ve ever had both physically and mentally, but I’ve grown so much from the experience and have come away with a certification I can take anywhere in the world.
To anyone considering doing their Divemaster certification I would highly recommend doing it through a traineeship. Sometimes it can be a little frustrating if there hasn’t been much time for training and it can seem like its taking forever and a day, but it’s an excellent way to get actually experience of taking people out in the water and working on a boat. I learnt so much more by having practical experience and spending time with people who have worked in the industry for years rather than simply completing a two week course and rushing through everything. For me personally a traineeship was the right way for me to do this and I would highly recommend it to anyone considering giving it a go.
I could go into so much detail about the training and the work itself but I wanted to keep this post a relatively short summary of my experience. If there is anyone reading this who would be interested in finding out more information I am more than happy to provide more details or advice (:
Also I'm aware this is a particularly photo heavy post, but there were just so many it was so difficult to narrow down my favourites!