PADI Course Directors are instructor trainers who conduct PADI Instructor Development Courses and other instructor-level training. PADI Course Directors hold the highest and most respected professional rating in recreational scuba diving. They are among the dive industry’s most influential opinion leaders and role models. Those who join this elite group of professionals pass through a stringent screening process that examines their experience and training just to get into the competitive and demanding Course Director Training Course (CDTC).
Read more to find out about our amazing Course Director, Holly Macleod.
So tell us about yourself Holly. How did you get into diving?
My story begins in London, growing up in a typical urban family environment. During my late teens I discovered a passion for diving. Having little money and only a part time job waitressing I found a way to go on occasional scuba trips in neighboring Europe. I would usually use a local dive shop, and often found myself unprepared for diving. This sparked an urge to seek out proper training so I chose to take my PADI Open Water course on the busy island of Koh Tao, and found that my passion for diving was simply fuelled by the PADI training system and its diving practices. I progressed through the PADI education system, and found myself taking a Divemaster course off the coast of Honduras. After working as a Divemaster in various locations, I decided to take the next step and became a PADI Instructor. This career has taken me throughout the continent of Asia and Australia, and allowed me to go to places that some people will only dream about.
Did you always know you wanted to be an Instructor?
When I first started diving in my teenage years I didn’t really think I would ever become a PADI Instructor. I guess it was just about the diving, and ‘living in the moment’. It was only when I took my first PADI courses and started to realize how much I had to learn. I can remember saying to myself ‘wow, these guys really know their stuff’, and I guess this was when I first decided to further my diving education. It wasn’t till I took the Divemaster course; that I realized just how much I enjoyed working with students, and teaching them new things about diving. It was probably than that I realized how achievable it was to become a PADI Instructor.
Where have you dived?
Due to the fact that I have been diving from a young age I have been able to dive a variety of dive sites and dive conditions from all over the globe. Having dived in Europe in my younger years, I always longed to dive in the coral seas so I set off to Asia to see what I was missing. This took me to Thailand, Malaysia, The Philippines, Australia, Papua New Guinea and eventually Indonesia. Other places I have dived include Egypt and the Caribbean Sea. Although Europe does have some good diving and is convenient if you live in the UK, I definitely prefer the diversity and variety of marine life in coral seas!
What made you decide to become a Course Director?
I have now been working as a PADI professional for over a decade. During this period I have had a wide variety of experience and challenges thrown at me, working in a range of dive related roles. I have previously worked as both a Divemaster and Instructor for several busy dive shops in The Caribbean, Thailand, Malaysia, The Philippines, Australia and Indonesia. One of my favorite positions was working on the Mike Ball liveaboard expeditions to Australia and Papua New Guinea . I have also managed a variety of PADI dive shops, ranging from the small islands of Malaysia to the concrete jungle of Sydney’s Bondi Beach. Becoming a PADI Course Director just seemed like a natural progression in my career; having worked alongside some of the best known Course Directors in both Indonesia and Thailand. I have been able to combine their expertise with my own knowledge and experiences of the dive industry. As a result I believe I have created the perfect IDC course for those looking for a successful and rewarding scuba career.
What is your philosophy on teaching Instructor Development Courses?
My philosophy is to provide quality training in a relaxed and comfortable environment. I also believe that I have devised an IDC schedule that takes into account the needs of any dive professional wishing to further their career, and have addressed the common problems associated in taking time out to invest in a professional dive qualification. Firstly addressing the issue of time, I run a 10 day schedule. However if a candidate is under no particular time constraint or feels they need some additional preparation time, they are welcome to arrive before the IDC start date and get started! Secondly, we have addressed the issue of cost; Our IDC course is highly competitive without in any way reducing the quality of training. I myself over the years have found it difficult to find the time and the money to further my training, and would hate to see good instructors pass by the opportunity to live their dream due to these ‘oh so common’ modern day barriers.
How do you stand out from other Course Directors?
As well as having a 100% pass rate I have also been featured in the Exceeding Expectations section of the Undersea Journal and received several certificates of excellence for my commitment to instructor development. During my career I have made many contacts all over the globe and once the IDC is finished, I always like to keep in regular contact with my former candidates should any of them need assistance in finding their first job.
What are your goals for the future?
Here on Trawangan we always aim to train our Instructors to a standard over and above that generally expected in the industry. I am in constant communication with PADI representatives so as to best serve prospective and previous IDC candidates. Although we already run the Staff instructor course and have trained many Staff instructors here and elsewhere, I would like to develop the continuing education for current instructors and Staff instructors, helping them to gain real life experience of working within an instructor development team, and working toward their Master Instructor Qualification.