I’m one of the best advocates for New Zealand School of Commercial Diver Training (NZSCDT). After all, I studied there and have contributed to its growth and development over the years.
I grew up in New Zealand, although it is hard to pin me down to one town. My father was a police officer which meant that as a family, we moved around a lot. I have lived in a whole bunch of small towns throughout the country including Ashurst (where I was born), Masterton, Rotorua and now, Huntly.
Military-Minded: My Start in Diving
When I was 16, I joined the navy and soon after transferred to the army where I served for about seven years. It was around the same time that my dad taught me how to dive. During my time serving, I completed my first professional dive qualification. I loved it, so after my service I continued my dive education by completing a Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) specialty instruction diploma.
It didn’t take long for me to move into the field of commercial diving. I was running live aboard diving boats on the Great Barrier Reef for around four years when I first looked into the commercial side of things.
I was really living “the good life” on the reef, conducting massive shark feeds at Osprey and swimming with whales and manta rays. Over time though, I became discontent.There was a big element of customer service which I didn’t enjoy, so I decided to ditch the $120 per day that I was earning as a trip director and become a commercial diver for $320 per day.
NZSCDT Diving Training: A Custom Fit
I can’t say there was any one particular person that motivated me to investigate the option of commercial diving as a career, but I had picked up quite a lot of information about the industry through reading various dive magazines. It was through this reading that I noticed the NZSCDT. Their training program suited me because it meant I could be based in New Zealand. As a bonus, the New Zealand government provided student loans to cover my school costs, and I was eligible for them.
I completed my training at NZSCDT, and now I am not only the school Operations Manager, but I’m also very involved with the training of our students.
There are a lot of elements involved in training an individual to become a commercial diver.
We basically have to train them from the ground up to ensure that not only do they have the technical part of the job down pat, but we also ensure that their attitudes align with industry expectations.
We want to provide the industry with motivated divers who have the tenacity to survive the sometimes intense physical and mental pressure that you can experience in the job. The oil rigs are a great big melting pot of cultures so graduates need to be able to work alongside each other effectively.
As Operations Manager at NZSCDT, Brendon Fredericksen uses his previous commercial diving experience to aid staff, instructors and students.