A groundbreaking, intensive PADI scuba diving internship has begun in Bali that will take eight young Indonesians from Open Water Divers to Master Scuba Diver Trainers. The programme is planned to run over a ten-month period, and includes 20 diver speciality and instructor-level courses, work experience in dive centres across Indonesia, equipment maintenance and repair, and dive centre management. This innovative programme is the first of its kind and was conceived by Minni Vansgaard, PADI Platinum Course Director and owner of Crystal Divers Bali. Scuba diving is a crucial element of Indonesia’s tourism product – more than 4,000 divers were certified last year in Bali alone. The programme aims to give the best possible chance to local Indonesians in becoming dive professionals and to sustain the ever growing Indonesian dive industry with world-class, professionally trained, environmentally active instructors.
PADI Asia Pacific is strongly behind the programme and has kindly contributed all course materials and waived administrative fees. VIP Henrik Nimb, PADI Asia Pacific’s Vice President of Marketing/Education and Business Development, personally opened the internship programme on 20 April 2011. The opening was also attended by members of the Indonesian government’s Tourism Department; Abi Carnadie, PADI Regional Manager for Indonesia and East Timor; and Divemasters Bali, who are sponsoring the programme along with Aqua Lung, who together have equipped all interns with brand new sets of Aqua Lung dive equipment.
The programme relies solely on volunteers and contributions; without these great individuals it would not be possible.
All Crystal Divers Instructors have voluntary dedicated their time to teach the interns six days a week for up to eight to ten hours per day. The programme also relies heavily on external volunteers, who kindly offer their free time to teach, such as senior members of PADI, DAN and Project AWARE staff.
The interns come from all corners of Indonesia: Bali, Lombok, Java and Sulawesi:
- Hairi Busyairi, aged 20, from Gili Trawangan, Lombok
- Gede Eri Sanjaya (‘Eric’), aged 26, from Kubu, Bali
- I Made Sade Astawa, aged 19, from Mataram, Lombok
- Imam Wahyudi, aged 25, from Banuwangi, Java
- Inyoman Budiasa, aged 25, from Tulamben, Bali
- Nico Novan, aged 22, from Malang, Java
- Vintty Marcelly Koloay, aged 23, from Sulawesi, Utara
- Wulandari Karunia Septiani (‘Wulan’), aged 26, from Jakarta, Java.
These outstanding individuals are all aware of the tremendous impact this internship will have on their lives. It has allowed these enthusiastic, motivated Indonesians a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live the dream they have always wanted but could never afford. All of them express a deep concern for the protection of the ocean and its inhabitants. Vintty wants to open an eco-resort near her hometown:
‘I want to teach diving to many people in the world, so they can see how beautiful the underwater world is, so they will love the sea and diving also. With it they will also understand how important it is to preserve marine nature, keep it sustainable so that we and future generations can continue to enjoy it.’
Inyoman wants to ‘teach and share knowledge about diving and how to protect marine life and the ocean – to help get more people to visit Indonesia’.
Wulan also wants to open her own dive centre, and thinks she might like to be a PADI Course Director or perhaps work at PADI headquarters someday:
‘I will teach my students not only about diving but also about protecting the underwater life; many people come to Indonesia and are eager to learn about diving; increasing the number of tourists can help my country.’
Nico perhaps sums it up best:
‘Nothing is impossible’
Monthly donations are received from supportive individuals, which allows the interns to cover their living expenses and focus on learning rather than working to support their basic needs. It costs approximately US$100 per intern for housing and food for one month. The interns still need small diving accessories such as dive computers, whistles, compasses and dive lights, so any donation will be most appreciated and put to good use.
Anyone wishing to contribute to this worthy cause should contact Minni at Crystal Divers (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Know that your gift will be instrumental in the development of the Indonesian dive industry.