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When our next PADI IDC begins in September, not only the candidates have to come prepared. As a Course Director, Gabrielle knows about all the hard work behind those two fun but tough weeks… Let’s hear what she has to say.

This is my first time to write a blog… Not being the social networking person, when asked to write one I had to ask what a blog was… so here’s hoping I have it right!

Most of the time when you see a blog about a PADI Instructor Development Course it is usually from the candidates’ perspective, but I thought it might be nice to hear from the Course Director’s side of things…

PADI Course Director Gabrielle Holder at Apo Island

When I first learnt to dive, becoming a diving professional was not on my list in the slightest, even when I completed my IDC and became a PADI Instructor I still did not have plans to take up the position of PADI Course Director. Here I am though, a PADI Course Director for over 10 years and also one of the owners and General Manager of Atmosphere Resorts & Spa. Among its many facilities, Atmosphere also holds the prestigious rating of a 5 Star Instructor Development Resort – this simply put means we are able to teach all PADI sanctioned courses from absolute beginner to Professional and Specialty training.

Most people would naturally believe that when an IDC starts, the pressure is all on the candidates, the candidates are the ones that are learning new skills, knowledge and understanding of the PADI system. Candidates have to go through up to 14 days of presentations, assessments and finally pass the Instructor Examination.

Atmosphere's IDC candidates during a PADI Rescue Course session in the Atmosphere pool

This IS all true, but let’s not forget the Course Directors. Our preparations start months before the IDC with our search for candidates in the competitive world of PADI Instructor Development. In South East Asia, the competition is fierce and although candidates often look for the best deal, it goes without saying they also want the best education and guarantee of passing the Instructor Exam… This is where Instructor Development Philippines comes in – we focus on the real world, and to be honest this is what you need to pass your IE.

A few weeks before the IDC starts, my fellow PADI Course Director, Tim Latimer from Liquid Dumaguete (together we form Instructor Development Philippines), myself and our team of IDC Staff are working hard on the schedule, preparing logistics and assuring that there is an IDC Team ready and waiting to go for our eager candidates.

PADI Course Director Gabrielle Holder looks on as her candidates practice in Open Water at Apo Island

When I start an IDC with the Orientation I usually tell my candidates that when they first did the PADI Open Water Course they probably hadn’t anticipated being sat here on the first day of their IDC, as hadn’t I. I also tell them that PADI is as much of a career path that they may wish to make of it, that their future students could also be sat here one day and that the road to PADI Course Director is absolutely achievable.

Then follows 14 Days of IDC – this includes the prep days, the IDC and the EFR/CFC Instructor. PADI Course Directors guide candidates through their steps, putting pressure on when necessary, offering reassurance and giving them as much knowledge of the PADI system as possible. Adding to this we make the candidate realize that this isn’t about IDC/IE world, but real life application and that everything they are learning now is what they will be using in their careers as PADI Instructors.

I still stand by the fact that no other job has ever given me the reward and satisfaction that I get from certifying divers – it doesn’t matter if they are beginner divers at Open Water level or continuing their education up the PADI ladder as a PADI Instructor. The influence you can have on a student is tremendous. So I guess what I am trying to say from the above is that becoming a PADI Professional is definitely a career move that changes your life and even may surprise you on its path depending on whether you go only part of the way with your dive education or the whole nine yards…

I think this is where I will leave you… In my next Blog I will talk more about the IDC and what a Course Director goes through on the IE.

Safe diving


(this is what can happen after the IE, with the Course Director sandwiched between two happy new instructors and very soon hits the pool)

PADI Course Director Gabrielle Holder sandwiched between two happy new PADI Instructors

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  • Paul Davis says:

    Nice reading this Gabrielle, thanks. We met several years ago in Boracay, and my wife and I still visit the Philippines regularly for diving holidays. Sometime we will make the big jump to DM training, then instructors, I hope. Next time we can make it down to Dumaguete, well drop in for a chat… Ok I hope, thanks…

  • Jimmy Christrup says:

    Great blog article Gabby. Keep them coming

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