The Magazine for Underwater Professionals
AGM in Oslo is a great success
The annual general meeting, held in September in Oslo, Norway, was a great success, with representatives from more than 20 schools taking part. In his welcome, Lars Wroldsen, acting director of our host, the Norwegian Commercial Diving School (NYD), reminded delegates of the appropriateness of the venue, with its long maritime history and as a focus for diver training and diving activities in the North Sea since the early days of the oil industry in the region. Established in 1989, NYD is pleased to support the activities of IDSA because of the very high standards which it sets for international diver training.
The chairman, Leo Lagarde, spoke of the way in which IDSA is steadily growing in numbers of members and also in geographical terms. He welcomed three new full member schools (i.e., those which have been successfully audited and are now entitled to issue students with their IDSA certificates at the appropriate level); they are the Irish Navy Diving School (to Level 3), Oceanos Diving School in Barcelona, Spain (Level 3) and Ecole Nationale des Scaphandrier, France (also Level 3). The chairman also welcomed the National Hyperbaric Centre in Scotland as a full members (specialist training) and C-Tecnics as an industrial member, together with six new associate members.
All the original full member schools have now been audited for a second time. These re-audits take place every five years and schools are expected to demonstrate not only that they have kept up the original standards but also to show development in both courses and equipment; additionally, auditors look for further staff training and higher expectations of students – essential, in our view, in these days of swift development and competition. With this in mind, the suggestion that an IDSA instructor certification might be a useful development was supported by the meeting and the Board will discuss the possibilities at its future meetings.
Planning for the move of our general office to the Netherlands Diving Centre (NDC) in Delft is continuing and Carin Bot, the chief administrator at NDC, attended the meeting and was able to get to know IDSA members at first hand. It is hoped that this move to NDC will allow the administrator much needed time to follow up initiatives which have been on hold due to the heavy work load.
As usual, a number of papers were presented at the meeting, including one from Dan Hedberg on the moves and changes which have taken place at Gothenberg; the school, having constructed its own barge and wet bell installation, has changed both its location and administration, moving from its base in Gothenberg to a new site in Svanesund some 68 kilometres north and transferring its administration from the Fire Service to the Gothenberg Department of Further Education. NYD presented an interesting paper with animated illustrations on TUP (transfer under pressure) and a view of the (possible) future was presented by DiveData on the use of an electronic log book. Members also enjoyed a visit to the host school and were able to see the major new developments on the site as well as observing training in progress and demonstrations by Nautronix, InOut Security Services and Tecna AS.
It is, perhaps, a sign that IDSA qualifications are seen as desirable that some establishments have made false claims to IDSA membership and to the facility to award IDSA cards when this is not the case. Whilst this may be a backhanded compliment to the increasing value of these qualifications, it is essential that all such claims are rigorously checked. Potential employers are reminded that any diver claiming an IDSA qualification will be in possession of a credit card sized card which has the diver’s photo, the level of qualification and a hologram of the IDSA logo. Similarly with schools – it has recently come to our notice that some ‘shop fronts’ list IDSA amongst courses offered when, in fact, they are not qualified to do so. This is a case of ‘let the buyer beware’, and we urge potential employers and students to check with the administrator if they have any doubts – we are only a phone call or email away.
Alan Bax, Administrator