To those who are currently involved with teaching the Junior DM programme.
What is the process when the diver reaches the age of 18 years?
Do they have to repeat the Rescue Course before continuing to do the "Adult" DM course?
In a nutshell, they must go though the same Divemaster course once they turn 18 as anyone else would who applied to be a DM. This includes the pre-requisites, class itself and evaluation process to graduate.
If Scuba were to model the golf industry there would just be coaching fore hire. if a diver wanted to get better at buoyancy they could hire a scuba coach/instructor for a period of time to coach them on buoyancy with no certification being issued. The drawback to this approach is that 100% of the money would go to the local coach and none to the agency. Looking at it this way I think the reason for the complaints about the current system are evident. I think it is possible that many folks either don't recognize or inherently value the advertising that agencies do to help bring divers to local shops.
I think what people forget is what I said in my first post, that the training agencies provide a lot of services to their members. Marketing is part of it, but providing books, powerpoint presentations, educational videos, but mostly training standards that their instructors can follow.
We've all seen outstanding dive staff, and horrible dive staff. As a manager for a diving company, I interview all kinds. Imagine for a second, that these instructors were left to their own devices when teaching a class. A mature, competent, informed dive instructor would try to put on a good class. A beach bum would do the bare minimum, forget critical information and skills, and generally do a poor class. As a layperson, you'd have no idea if you were mis-taught.
In either case, both instructors would find themselves wide open for legal liability, as the classes for each were drawn from their own experience outside of some vetted and reviewed standards. But also imagine if the instructor had to write their own textbook and knowledge reviews, product their own videos, or somehow design their own app for dive planning. That thought makes me smile with how some of those results could turn out.
I will fully agree that some agencies do this better than others. Some agencies offer far more value to their members than others. Some agencies are clearly are in the game to maximize their profits, while others have a genuine interest in providing quality training programs for the members and the diving public. Some members who have no business being dive professionals are able to slip though the cracks as we've all seen. This is found in every facet of life. There are good doctors and bad doctors. Good cops and bad cops, good dive institutors and bad ones.
I think any initiative that gets youth involved and teaches them skills, risk management and responsibility is good.
This is very important. There are far less youth getting into diving. In addition, there is a huge segment of our youth that could benefit from some structure and direction. I wish I had this opportunity available to me when I was 15.
Thanks, this means a lot. Come find me when you make it down here, and I will be sure to dive with you and show you the secret spots we don't tell the others about! :-D