Campbell River’s commercial dive school, DiveSafe International, has taught students coast to coast in Canada, and now is on the brink of signing on to train divers in Panama. It is one of the thousands of successful Canadian independent businesses being heralded this week during Small Business Week, Oct. 19-25.
Now in it’s eighth year, the school is constantly growing in tandem with the demand for DiveSafe’s graduates. Kelly Korol considers the job market very good for the people who attend the 5-week commercial scuba diving course, describing a situation where students “graduate on Friday and are working on Monday.”
Mr. Korol created DiveSafe International after North Island College, a school at which he was instructing, closed their commercial diving program. The timing was fortuitous as around the same time the aquaculture industry in B.C. was moving from having in-house divers to using contractors, opening up the job market on Vancouver Island for commercial divers. And the growth in the aquaculture industry since has continued to create a strong demand for his students.
Today, the majority of the 100 students DiveSafe graduates annually become employees of the aquaculture industry, learning specialized skills at the private trade school for this work. Other graduates find work in industries as varied as film, environmental assessment, marine construction, and search and recovery. Because of the regulation involved in the industry, Mr. Korol describes the work a very safe, as well as interesting: “It’s full of variety. Always changing, different sites, different projects, and always on the go.”