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Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize

Posted By: elbert

Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/04/14 01:05 PM

Belize has laws preventing nonbelizean Scuba Instructors from working in Belize.
Good and bad seems to be present in all laws.
We have a national shortage and it's holding back development in the industry.
Phuket has definitions we might learn from. The dive industry in Phuket is one of the largest and most successful in the world.
190 diving instructors and staff in 114 diving companies in the little island of Phuket.

http://www.phuketgazette.net/phuket...z-clarifies-instructors/29049#ad-image-0

http://www.thephuketnews.com/checks-begin-on-foreigners-working-in-phuket-dive-industry-45486.php
Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/04/14 08:11 PM

So Elbert - what can be done? I thought there were more dive masters/instructors here then there are customers.
Posted By: elbert

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/04/14 11:55 PM

Harriette, real ones are hard to find, 'real' meaning those that are current and have a licences. About one in 5 that I interview actually can produce a card or document and then it's usually expired.
The Belize Tourist Board, San Pedro Tour Guides Association and labor department all have opinions that need some introspection.
A fresh outlook at a stale situation.
Another extremely successful island dive industry is Utila Honduras. Smaller and less populated than Ambergris, Utila's PADI Career Dive Center is one of the best in the world, producing Half the SCUBA Instructors in the Americas. They are not restricted or burdened by labor laws forbidding foreigners from working in their industry resulting in an economic boom.
Posted By: bywarren

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/05/14 12:15 PM

If Elbert is correct that there is a shortage of properly trained instructors, then before one jumps to the conclusion that more non Belizeans should be allowed to work, three questions should be addressed.
1: Are there enough Belizeans wanting to be instructors?
2: If so are there Belizeans capable of being properly trained?
3: Is so are there training programs available.
Most tourist enjoy experiencing the local culture that is best provided by someone who has lived, learned and knows that culture.
Not someone wanting a paid vacation.
I would also be interested in the locally owned dive operations perspective on this issue.
Posted By: elbert

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/05/14 12:38 PM

For 10 years Belize has an instructor training facility and a lot of Belizean instructors got their licences there. Scholarships have been available and taken advantage of.
I agree local Tourguides/Divemaster are best and most desired by tourist.
Instructors are a different matter. Allowing non-local instructors could do nothing but improve the stock by bring new and current information and techniques. Existing laws prohibiting them only depresses development.
Posted By: bywarren

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/05/14 12:58 PM

You seem to be contradicting yourself. On one hand you say "Instructors are a different matter. Allowing non-local instructors could do nothing but improve the stock by bring new and current information and techniques. For 10 years Belize has an instructor training facility and a lot of Belizean instructors got their licences there. Scholarships have been available and taken advantage of."
And then you say,"Instructors are a different matter. Allowing non-local instructors could do nothing but improve the stock by bring new and current information and techniques."

You seem to answer all three of my questions in the affirmative, only to suggest that the available training might lack "new and current information and techniques."

Posted By: elbert

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/05/14 01:11 PM

No, I avoided number 2 because it sounds racist or at least insulting.
The point I would like to make, or was trying to make, about the training facility is that the opportunity has been there for Belizeans wanting to take advantage of it.
Posted By: bywarren

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/05/14 01:17 PM

OK, so you are not answering one and two in the affirmative. I realize I am easy to confuse. So if I understand you correctly, there are not enough Belizeans willing and able to be trained to fill the need - in your opinion.
Posted By: elbert

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/05/14 01:24 PM

Yes
Posted By: Inplub

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/05/14 01:28 PM

Who trains the Belizeans in the first place?
Posted By: bywarren

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/05/14 01:34 PM

I would have to say, with me not being in the business and you being in it, I respect your opinion. That is not to say I accept it. It would be interesting to get opinions from Belizeans in the business.
Posted By: elbert

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/05/14 01:51 PM

Inpub,
It's a 5 star training agency in Belize city called Sea Sports Belize. I don't want this to be misconstrued to say the Belizeans are not trained well. They are trained well and PADI headquarters gives the final exams/tests themselves so here is not the problem.
Blocking instructors from other parts of the world is the problem.
Any vocation benefits from familiarization outside of it's geographical boundaries.
Posted By: bywarren

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/05/14 02:55 PM

To me it might be an oversimplification of a more complex issue. But, I would ask the question: Is foreign investment good to encourage when it provides jobs for Belizeans? Or, is the use of Belize resources good to provide jobs for foreigners?
Posted By: Inplub

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/05/14 05:02 PM

Thank you Elbert, I was not getting at anybody, just wondered who instructed the instructor's.
Posted By: elbert

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/05/14 05:17 PM

I would agree with it being an oversimplification, we would be allowing foreigners to come in and provide a service we can't provide Adequately and enhance our service to attract more business, with the bonus of them bringing up the standards of our own instructors.
A quick look at the performance report card of a typical Belize dive shop compared to one of Utila or Phuket will show course levels taught to be high in the basics but extremely low in the upper level certifications when compared to Utila or Phuket.
Posted By: elbert

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/05/14 05:18 PM

Yes , Inplub PADI regulates by doing the testing themselves and this keeps the standards high. Regional Course Directors train and present candidates to a Two day testing called Instructor Evaluation that is given by international headquarters.
Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/05/14 08:47 PM

It seems to me that once someone gets certified as an instructor they want to open their own dive shop.
How many dive shops are now on the island?
How many dive instructors work full time here?
How many dive masters are certified and licensed to work here?
Maybe Billy Leslie would be the one to answer these.

Elbert - how long ago did you get your work permit? I can think of several other gringo's who used to work here; how did they get permits? I take it things changed; when?
Posted By: elbert

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/05/14 08:55 PM

I made myself a citizen, about the time Woolly Mammoth disappeared from the Continent.
Posted By: seashell

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/07/14 02:16 AM

Elbert, woolly mammoth. smile

I agree with you. Don't need to open the flood gates but maybe a quota max number and/or special work permit for limited time. Considering PADI has already been getting its nose in Belize's business, perhaps that can be used to persuade GOB and Guide Assoc.?

Might also bring to the notice of Belizean instructors thst there's an overall benefit to themselves in this.
Posted By: AWMIII

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/07/14 03:12 PM

I think that international influence is a good thing in the scuba industry. One of the best divemasters that I ever worked with was a German national working in the US. If nothing else it helps give consistency in standards. Belize is getting a reputation as a place where standards are not followed. Having more and better instructors would certainly help.
Posted By: Tracker

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/07/14 03:41 PM

"Having more and better instructors would certainly help."

So instructors here in Belize are not as good as others???????:(
Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/07/14 06:33 PM

Tracer- Obviously some are better and some are not.
If an industry stays isolated it becomes outdated.
The GOB denies young men visas so they can attend trade shows where the best and latest techniques and equipment are show cased.
I agree there needs to be some rigid requirements but this could only help to make the industry better.
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/07/14 09:20 PM

ScubaLady, Belize doesn't deny the visas, the countries that they want to visit to take the course deny the visas.

We have IDC courses here from time to time.
Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/08/14 04:13 PM

Amanda - my mistake. I know dive masters and dive instructors who have applied to go to the annual dive industry show (DEMA), paid their money and been turned down. Perhaps they too misunderstand the denial.
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/08/14 04:20 PM

Yes, applications for a US visa are hefty, I think around USD300 - and if you are denied a visa to travel to the US you still lose the application fee.
Posted By: Katie Valk

Re: Foreign SCUBA Instructors working in Belize - 04/08/14 08:26 PM

Requirements for visas can include land in the applicants name and bank account. So if one rents and does not own, they can easily be denied the visa and loose the huge application fee
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