Written by John Kinsella
Dive business internships are a very varied species. On one hand, you have your simple casual internships. These favor small dive centers and no two are ever the same. The interns are typically enthusiastic, and they’re happy to swap energy for experience and a good deal on education. On the other hand, large instructor development centers offer structured career-oriented internships that are typically well defined, well-advertised and well run. The interns are just as enthusiastic and may benefit from a formal structure that provides specific timeframes and clear, expected outcomes. In between, you find internship variants of every shape and size.
But all internships have a few things in common: They’re a key element of the instructor development process, they’re a great way to find future employees, they’re a great source of fresh new perspectives and ideas, and they’re a great way to increase productivity and business.
To make the most of internships consider these key points:
With so many possible versions, it’s important the terms of the internship are crystal clear and reinforced in a written agreement. Ironically, this is often a bigger issue for the smaller casual internships in which it’s easy for assumptions and unmet expectations to cause misunderstanding and disagreements. Avoid this by using regular communication and review, and an exit interview when the internship ends.
What separates an internship from a package deal on multiple courses is the expectation that the intern will benefit from real-world experience. It’s important to make the extra effort to integrate the intern into the enterprise. This benefits everyone: The intern gains experience and becomes a useful part of the team, and the operation benefits from a motivated helper (and an active promoter).
Instructor-Level Continuing Education
It’s a competitive world out there. Make sure professional-level continuing education is a key internship component so your interns are ahead of the pack when it comes to landing their dream jobs. These highly qualified professionals benefit the entire industry, and they help instructor development centers establish credibility as a source of well-trained dive pros.
There are a lot of options for potential interns, particularly for those who’ve made the decision to combine a dive internship with travel. Packaging pays off, but don’t get carried away. Studies show that too many options confuse people and make them indecisive. They also show that if you have three options, chances are people will choose the one in the middle.
Invest in internships and make sure to play your part in helping new pros be the best they can be.