Volunteering as an Instructor Trainer is immensely rewarding by getting involved in your regional training you can help to bring on the next generation of BSAC instructors, from assistant instructors and above.
Each January/February, BSAC runs its popular Instructor Trainer Development Course (ITDC), the key foundation step to teaching on the Instructor Training Scheme. The ITDC is a two-day course designed to develop your skills to enable you to observe and to be inducted to teach on events leading to Open Water Instructor, the IFC, OWIC and PIE/TIE.
You can register your interest in attending next year’s ITDC, pencilled in for early 2018, now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org You can also find out more about your BSAC Regional Coaching Team and how you can get involved in training in your area by contacting your Regional Coach.
A student’s perspective
In the meantime, to give you a flavour of what to expect, 2017 ITDC participant and BSAC Advanced Instructor Fran Hockley, from Pembrokeshire, gives her personal lowdown on the course and what it meant to her…
Why did you become a BSAC Instructor?
I started diving at Cardiff University where I progressed to Dive Leader, and the hard work of the volunteer instructors in the club made me really want to give something back. I had some really great mentors after I did my Instructor Foundation Course which meant I never felt like I was thrown in at the deep end – pardon the pun – when I first started teaching. I’ve always felt BSAC is such a great volunteer organisation, and anything you take out of it, you should put back in at a later date.
Why did you decide to take the next step to teaching on the Instructor Training Scheme?
I suppose it just felt like a natural progression for me. I had been instructing for a number of years, and in the last two have been lucky enough for this to become my full-time job. I have become very familiar with the Diver Training Programme and became a senior instructor in my centre. This also meant I had many of my staff going on the Instructor Foundation Course or becoming newly qualified Open Water Instructors and so the ITDC seemed a sensible way in which I could learn to mentor them in their teaching. Since doing the Advanced Instructor Course and Exam, I have also found that I have become a better instructor myself whilst learning how to coach others.
Did you have to do much preparation for the ITDC?
Because I was already teaching on a regular basis, I was familiar with the Diver Training Programme, and so I‘d say that was all the preparation I needed. I had also only done the Advanced Instructor Exam a few months before, and so the teaching techniques were still fresh on my brain. I’d say to anyone going into the ITDC just to make sure their personal and teaching skills are up to date, as you need to be at a point where these come fairly naturally so you can focus on the instructor trainer aspect rather than the skill itself.
It’s a full on weekend, what was your overall experience of the course?
It definitely is, but also very enjoyable. I learnt an awful lot from the weekend and came away with a long list of development points and teaching ideas to take with me to my centre and club. I definitely felt inspired to continue on the ITS and made some good friends and contacts to help me along the way.
What were your highs (and if applicable, lows) of the weekend?
The high points I think were meeting lots of like-minded people who weren’t there just to get another qualification but we're there because they love teaching, diving and wanted to give something back. It was amazing how far some people had travelled to be there, so I now have contacts in different parts of the country I can tap in to for future dive trips! The lows – I can’t really think of any!
Has the course given you the confidence to move into the national ITS scheme?
Yes, it has. Since the course, I have already taught under supervision on two IFCs, an OWIC, a PIE and a TIE. I’m also going to be doing my second OWIC for the Wales Region in a few weeks’ time. I’ve really enjoyed being part of the ITS and get a great buzz from coaching new instructors.
What does it mean to you to be able to help train the next ‘generation’ of instructors for the BSAC club system?
It is really important to me. BSAC only thrives from having a continuation of instructors coming through, and to make that happen you need Instructor Trainers. BSAC works so well because of the community aspect you feel being part of a club and training new and inspiring instructors keep branches running smoothly.
Would you recommend the ITDC to anyone considering teaching outside their club on the ITS?
Yes I would. The ITDC really brought everything together which I learnt on the Advanced Instructor course and prepared me for teaching on the IFC and other instructor courses and exams. It also massively improved me as an instructor as I learnt some new ways of teaching and putting ideas across I hadn’t thought of before.
For more information and to register your interest in the 2018 Instructor Trainer Development Course, email email@example.com.