Currently there are 3 Class II commercial diving schools in South Africa (SA), and 3 other Class III schools. A pertinent question asked by prospecting students is what exactly are the differences between them all, and where must they train in order to successfully find work afterwards?
Let us first discuss the following regarding similarities shared by all. Each school currently in operation in SA must meet the standards as endorsed by Department and Labour (DOL). DOL make audits to assess if a school functions up to their standards, if not the case, then that school must first get its house in order, or else close until they can successfully meet certain criteria. Accordingly each school issues the same DOL approved ticket that is equal in every sense when applying for work.
Some schools are further affiliated with overseas bodies, such as IMCA for Europe and ADAS for Australia, so when looking to work directly in those countries, the best school would be in the country you want to work in, otherwise SA and many other countries are still an option, but it is advisable to at least attend a school affiliated with IMCA, as this broadens the work pool.
There is a debate over any commercial school that provides underwater welding and cutting, and how this relates to overseas qualifications. Currently all SA schools can only provide theoretical and/or practical training, and any in-house certificate will not be recognized anywhere, except an approved additional international qualification.
The differences between schools is what courses they can provide a student, their affiliated overseas bodies, amount of equipment the student is exposed to, assistance in finding work, student to instructor ratio, completing the minimum underwater hours as stipulated by DOL per course. Many schools do meet these criteria, but not all.
At BS Divers, training students since 1997, we guarantee that any student that trains at our school will not only meet the minimum standards, but a lot more and is better equipped at finding successful employment in an ever demanding and competitive market. Feel free to ask the important questions, and we hope to see you on our next course!