By Shaun Notley, November 2018.
What do you think the most sought after attributes of a dive professional seeking a new role within the industry would be..?
I had a brief run through and tally up of a popular diving jobs page and the results were as follows. Sales ability and multiple languages popped up in 50% of advertisements whereas employers seeking those who can teach a wide array of courses or ‘experienced’ professionals only 30%. Often little thought about, maintenance experience was present in 50% of the job advertisements.
Maintenance aside, let’s first look at some of the other popular sought after skills employers seek in dive professionals.
1. Sales. Touched upon in an Instructor Development Course – learning how to link courses and sell equipment is vital for dive centres to flourish, even more so for those on commission based salaries.
2. Multi-linguists, depending on location, assist in increasing customer reach.
3. Experience obviously comes with time, arguably so too does increasing the range of courses a dive professional can offer.
That leaves maintenance. What do we class as maintenance? Replacing a mouthpiece or a worn hose certainly are forms of maintenance but is that the level that is sought? Of course not, I imagine most of those employers are looking for a little more than that… Many claim knowledge in diagnosing faults with equipment but how many have the actual experience, certification and expertise to back that up? From my experience across multiple levels within the industry, the minority.
Picture the busy dive centre in the middle of peak season. Many of the potential hiccups can be quickly remedied – for example replacing a problem Instructor, renting an additional boat or hiring a French speaking Instructor for a French guest influx. Picture the busy dive centre in the middle of peak season. Many of the potential hiccups can be quickly remedied – for example replacing a problem Instructor, renting an additional boat or hiring a French speaking Instructor for a French guest influx.
So, what are the employers looking for when they ask for maintenance experience then? Something more solid than a I’ve fixed a regulator before or I just know stuff…!
- Manufactures repair clinic certificates. While valuable for learning product ranges and tricks with certain models, most manufacturers repair clinics are basic in nature, skip over basic workshop principles and fundamentals of equipment repair. They are typically between half a day to 1 day long and often difficult to attend due to selective entry requirements.
2. Professionals with the proven ability to safely use and maintain compressors and filling stations. Think about it, when did you ever learn throughout your dive studies how to operate and maintain a filling station? Throughout most agencies Divemaster / Instructor level training this is not within the syllabus. You may have been fortunate enough to have been shown the ropes by an old salt but never received full on training and certification.
3. Formal technician training / apprenticeships. Apprentice type workshop experience is a fairly rare opportunity within this field. Another approach to getting plenty of hands on experience on a variety of equipment and a certification to suit is to sit a TQS Level 1 SCUBA Technician Course.
You will enhance mechanical understanding, troubleshooting skills, workshop etiquette, record keeping, quality control and have access to an experienced mentor. The Technicians Qualification System provides students with a starting point to becoming a dive technician. It can be a valuable indicator to prospective employers that you have sat formal technician training and help set you apart from the competition.
4. Other classes like Gas Blender which combines well with Compressor Operator and Technician qualifications. Although perhaps not as unique as some of the previous points, in combination with other skills it can increase a candidate’s profile to an employer. Cylinder inspection, compressor maintenance or portable engine repair, especially combined with other skills, show potential employers you can bring that little bit extra to the table.
Of course not all individuals are mechanically inclined, or even wish to become involved in equipment maintenance. For those who do, with the right training, experience and mindset there are some bountiful opportunities. As a dive professional being able to offer more, better, can only help in you getting hired – whether that is speaking 5 languages or being able to troubleshoot and effectively repair equipment.
Maintenance training sets you apart from the dive professional that fixed a couple of regulators last year or one that has knows equipment maintenance on their Resume without any certifications or supporting documents. Employers seeking professionals with additional maintenance skills want reassurance the prospective employee can put their money where their mouth is. Maintenance knowledge, skill development and certification via these classes is one way to help satisfy their concern. Remember, maintenance training is so special because it is not taught to everyone, by anyone.
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