August 16th, 2013

PREMIUM DC 2013, "Instructor Training College" - Cannes la Bocca, France

Keep in touch in the next days we will insert other questions in order to know this amazing DC.

Question10: What is the strongest argument for the Instructor Training College to convince me as customer for my diving related training?

Infrastructure and expertise are our key benefits. Remember our slogan: not only certified, but also qualified. The Instructor Training College is the best place to go for those who really want to learn the ins and outs of scuba diving. And then there is the atmosphere of relaxed professionalism – it is simply great to be and to learn at “Villa Belle Rive”!
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Question9: What else can be done around the Instructor Training College? Could I come with family and/or kids?

The area around Cannes has much to offer. The largest Island off Cannes is "Ile Sainte-Marguerite", dominated by a fortress which was also a prison. One of the most celebrated prisoners was the "Man with the Iron Mask" whose identity remains a mystery forever. The smallest Island off Cannes is Saint-Honorat, easily recognized by its ancient Monastery founded by the end of the 4th century, with a fortified section built by the monks as a protection against the Barbarian attacks.
Antibes, an old village only 30 minutes from Cannes, has the nicest harbour of the Côte d'Azur. Founded by the Greeks, it had many different authorities, dating back to the 14th century when the city belonged to the Grimaldi Family (now in Monaco). Now you will find a Picasso exhibition in the Grimaldi Castle. Picasso lived and worked in Antibes in 1946. In the same exhibition you will find paintings of Nicolas de Stael, Magnelli, Hartung and Max Ernst.
Before the building of the lighthouse, people cared for a large fire every night on top of the Antibes cape, in order to prevent the ships from going onto the rocks. Several centuries after, an "intellectual fire" took place with the most famous American writers living there, (Hemingway, Dos Pasos, Scott Fitzgerald, etc...). It's still a very popular place with a lot of big private houses and top-level hotels such as the Eden Rock.
Saint-Paul de Vence is a very nice city in the hills above Cannes. Today its main attraction is as the place where one finds all the artists and art galleries of the area. But it wasn't always like that in the past: St Paul was an independent republic in the 13th century, fortified in order to fight against outside powers and invaders.
Valauris is one of the world famous places to buy dishes and pottery. It began in the 11th century through trading with Corsica and Italy. There you can not only find pottery makers, but also several art galleries concerning Picasso, Cocteau and Mirà, who lived here.
Grasse - perfume. What more is there to say?
Family and kids are welcome at the Instructor Training College, as long as they participate in a course. The tranquillity of the centre to assure optimum learning is important to achieve our goals. For that reason (other than during lunch breaks) all who are not students have to leave the premises (maybe to the beach which is directly behind our centre).
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Question8: What is the best time to come to come to the Instructor Training College?

The College is open from January 20 through December 20 every year. Traditionally, July and August have been mostly dedicated to courses for recreational divers, while winter, spring and fall are the season for courses at professional levels. Those who have ambitions to become diving professionals often prefer to use the summer season to gain experience, rather than visiting courses.
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Question7: If no teaching materials are available from diver training organisations, does the Instructor Training College has alternatives to offer?

The Instructor Training College has an in-house publishing company called Scuba Publications. Since many years, we publish books on subjects that are not covered by diver training organisations, or books that are not available in the languages that we require (Dutch, English, French and German).
These books are widely used by dive centres and instructors all over Europe to support their teaching.
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Question6: In what languages are courses available and which special requests can be granted?

All our instructors speak at least three out of English, French, German and Dutch. These are the languages in which all our courses and services (including our internet pages) are available. You can also contact our office in any of these languages (by phone or in writing).
“Out of the ordinary training” is our specialty. Divers and diving professionals travel to our school to obtain training which is normally hard to find. 20 years of experience and close cooperation with manufacturers (MARES), environmental scientists, compressor repair technicians, IT specialists and many others have prepared us to teach what others cannot. We have embraced a constructivist learning style, which means that we guide learning processes according to the needs of each individual student. We are competent in the content of courses, but also in the field of education. That combination allows us to guide an optimum learning experience for all. Our most prestigious programme combines all our expertise in seven weeks of training for diving professionals and is called the VIP instructor course (for attending the seven week module, candidates must already be certified instructors). The course is a preparation for all the aspects of the work of a diving professional – on land and in the water.
We can teach physically challenged divers, but due to the diving conditions in the Mediterranean Sea, the must be in good shape.

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Question5: What does your DC look like?

The Instructor Training College is spread over three buildings and a swimming pool. The main building houses three classrooms of different size. Each classroom is equipped with the training aids needed to teach a wide variety of courses, as well as the needed electronic support tools. The same building houses a bar for coffee breaks and showers for candidates coming back from their work.
Lunch is served in a room in the combined office/technical building. With good weather, an outside sitting area can accommodate up to 60 students (and at the French Riviera that area is often in use). The offices are found in the same building, as is the rental department, the filling station (air and nitrox) and the repair workshop. The third building houses only the equipment storage facilities and rinsing for student equipment. This building is half-way between the pool and the sea, assuring that our guests only have a few meters to walk regardless if they go in open water or in the pool.
The buildings are located over a big area of well-maintained private garden. The three meter deep (18x8 metres) pool is located in the centre. Follow the link to the video to get full appreciation for the unique location of the Instructor Training College.
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Video (YouTube):

Question4: What is the history of the Instructor Training College?

In 1985 the first PADI Instructor Course was conducted at the College. That is a long time ago and since then it never stopped. Every year many Instructor Level certifications have been issued, now adding up to multiple thousands.
In the beginning it was PADI Europe who was the owner of the College – then called the PADI European College. In the current form, the College exists since 1994. When PADI started to operate on the European market, it was necessary to have a top location for the training of PADI Instructors. In those days, it was the only location apart from some individually organized courses in hotel facilities around Europe.
When PADI became more and more known, several dive operations around Europe received the status of Instructor Development Centre and were authorized to train instructors themselves. In 1994 the number was big enough to support the market. PADI did not see a need any more to be active in training and decided to dedicate all its time and resources to supporting diver training. The fantastic logistic was then offered to Daniela Goldstein to open her own training centre – the College.
In 1996, the College was the first dive centre in Europe to receive the prestigious Career Development Centre status and has continued to fulfil the requirements for that status until today. The College is still the only dive centre in France to fulfil the elevated requirements.
In 2000, the College was selected by PADI to test the new Instructor Development curriculum that was introduced in 2001. It was an honour for the College to be given such a big influence on the way instructors were going to be trained in the future. In 2009 that honour was repeated for the curriculum to be released in 2010.
A milestone for the College was the creation of the Scuba-Eco initiative in 2009. The project allows divers to actively engage themselves in the protection of local aquatic environments. Also today, the College is working on new initiatives for the benefit of improved diver training programmes. These will ready for market introduction in 2014.
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Question3: Which dive sites do you go to and how are the dives there?

The Mediterranean Sea is a very interesting area for diving. For the purpose of diving, you could best describe it as a "macro" area. You do not come to the "Med" for whale sharks or mantas. Bigger fish is seldom seen in these areas, but the number of smaller organisms is enormous.
There is a big variation in bottom composition, sand, sea grass and rock being most common. All of these have their own specific attractions and all of these are worth your while. For the naturalist or biology interested diver this area has all to offer what one could wish for.
The College is primarily a training centre. We do guided dives every now and then, but this is not our main activity. We will be happy to guide you on a dive behind our centre, but if you wish to do a boat dive, you want to refer to one of the many operations in and around Cannes, specialising in dive trips.
Behind the College you can expect to find octopus, moray eels, congers and many sorts of smaller fishes, starfish, nudibranchs, anemones, sponges, etc. Initially the bottom composition is sand, then progressing to sea grass and all around the area you'll find rocks under water, each of them having many different organisms on them. Next to the natural environment, the College did a lot of effort to create artificial habitats for the organisms in the "med".

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Question2: How I can get to the Instructor Training College and do I need to travel with all my equipment?

The most convenient way to reach the College is to fly to Nice International Airport, Côte d'Azur. You can fly directly to Nice from most European airports. Also companies like Easyjet and Virgin have Nice in their program. From Nice airport, there is a bus (Service Rapide), which takes you directly to Cannes. Tickets are available in the arrival hall of the airport. The buses leave every 30 minutes from 08:00 to 21:00.
The College has rental equipment available. We have state of the art, high-end MARES equipment for general diving courses. What makes the College special is that we also have equipment and tools available for courses on special subjects. This includes three compressors prepared for maintenance training, several camera systems with strobes, diving equipment and tools for repair workshops, microscopes and instruments to measure water quality, material for first-aid training and so on. The Instructor Training College is not a general dive centre, but an educational establishment and we have to tools (and the logistics) to show for it.
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Question1: What is special about the Instructor Training College and where is it located?

The Instructor Training College is not a “regular dive centre”. The College is an educational institution teaching divers at all levels, but specializing in the training of dive professionals. Multiple classrooms, our own three metre deep pool and direct access to the Mediterranean Sea make the location ideal for intensive training programmes. The College is very performing in “standard diver training”, but where we really excel is special training that is hard to obtain at other addresses. Both in knowledge and in training aids, we are completely equipped for courses in maintenance of compressors or dive equipment, underwater photography, biology, water chemistry and environmental issues and other.
Our slogan is “not only certified, but also qualified” which expresses our view on the training of both divers and diving professionals.
The Instructor Training College is located in Cannes, France – known from the famous film festival. It is housed in Villa “Belle Rive”. The grounds of the villa are only accessible to our students and clients. The big gardens, pool and teaching facilities guarantee tranquillity throughout your stay. Yet at the same time, our students are close to the “action” of the French Riviera.
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