PADI Divemaster and Marine Conservation Apprenticeship in the Indian Ocean

Develop your scuba diving skills on this Divemaster apprenticeship in the tropical waters of both the Seychelles and Thailand.

Durations: 24 weeks
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Critical science

Critical science

You'll contribute to vital conservation research targeted at protecting the earth's most valuable ecosystems.
Ethical engagement

Ethical engagement

Using the UN's SDGs as a framework, we've made a commitment to positive, constructive and sustainable impact.
Beautiful adventures

Beautiful adventures

You'll spend your days exploring some of the world's most breathtaking, exhilarating and remote wildernesses.

Program information

Get your PADI Divemaster qualification and boost your scuba or marine conservation career when you join a scuba diving and marine conservation apprenticeship in the endless turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, on Mahe Island and then to southern Thailand.

Grab up to 30% off in December!

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Overview
Dates & Prices
What's Included
Life On Base
ExperiencesNew
Free time
Cultural Immersion
Reviews
Speak to alumni
Parent Info
Arrivals
Flights
Your Impact
Our Ethics
Program ethics
Qualifications & Training
Support & Safety
Covid-19 Response
Live Updates

Program overview

Travel to the stunning waters of the Indian Ocean and contribute to vital marine research projects. Undergo an extensive training programme and gain in-depth knowledge into the marine ecosystem in Seychelles, then put this knowledge to work when you join a team to compile crucial research on tropical coral reefs and fish species.

Receive the PADI Reef Ecosystem Diver (RESD) Specialty segment of the PADI Divemaster course. This unique offering by GVI & PADI teaches you about best practices when conducting underwater coral reef surveys. This is offered to participants staying for longer than 2 weeks on the program.

In Thailand, you will gain your PADI Dive Master and work at a local dive shop having the opportunity to dive or snorkel regularly, learn about how to set up and run dives, and gain a holistic understanding of the diving industry.

Highlights

  • Taking your PADI Advanced and PADI Divemaster courses. Learning how to identify fish and coral in the Indian Ocean.
  • Learning how to identify fish and coral in the Indian Ocean.
  • Earning your PADI Advanced Open Water certificate.
  • Complete GVI & PADI’s unique qualification, the PADI Reef Ecosystem Diver (RESD) Specialty.
  • Exploring different dive sites among the tropical islands of Seychelles, searching for the incredible ‘mega-fauna’ in the area, such as sharks, rays, and dolphins. Take other extra dive courses with local dive shops.
  • Developing the techniques needed to survey coral reefs.
  • Complete your PADI Dive Master in Southern Thailand.

Program details

Dates and prices

Select a start date:

Exclusive offer. Book before the end of the month and receive up to 0 off this program.
COVID-19 flexibility. If COVID-19 prevents you from travelling, change your location and dates free of charge.
Payment plans. Flexible payment plans allow you to pay in instalments.

What happens next?

Once you apply, a personal Enrollment Manager will be assigned to walk you through the rest of the process.

What’s included?

What's Included
General
Volunteer
Intern
24-hour emergency desk
24-hour in-country support
Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
All project equipment
Food (except on long-term internship placements
Safe and basic accommodation (usually shared)
Pre-program training
Volunteer
Intern
Group introductory call
Welcome presentation
Endorsed GVI Specialisation Course
Endorsed Leadership Course
Project work
Volunteer
Intern
Sustainable project work
Leadership responsibilities
Data collection and research
Real projects with partners
Remote support
Volunteer
Intern
Program training
Weekly group check ins
Remote Academic Internship Supervisor
Remote Career Internship Supervisor
Post-program
Volunteer
Intern
Preferential recruitment on GVI positions
Job portal access
Endorsed Careers Course
Career coaching sessions
Certificates and achievements
Volunteer
Intern
PDF reference - upon request
Linkedin reference and skills endorsement
What's Excluded
General
Volunteer
Intern
Additional drinks and gratuities
Extra local excursions
Flights
International and domestic airport taxes
Medical and travel insurance
Personal items and toiletries
Police or background check
Visa costs

Life On Base

A short three-minute walk from the beach, our base in Baie Ternay Marine National Park is located in a picturesque location with tropical weather. With a thirty-minute walk to the nearest village and shop, our base is in a protected and secluded area. It almost feels like we have a private beach all to ourselves (the road ends at the base). The variety of marine life makes this an amazing location – you can see a plethora of life around the island and in the sea.   

Originally a school, the building has been transformed into an environmentally aware research base with classrooms for presentations, a library containing marine identification books and resources, and a recreation room to relax in after a day of diving. There are also giant hammocks (for more relaxation) and a large grassy area for volleyball. We also have party and BBQ themed nights, and enjoy film and documentary nights in the rec room cinema. Outside in the seating area, participants like to sit and play cards, or just enjoy the weather. Life on base is much like a big family and we share cooking, cleaning, and dive operation duties on a rotation basis. 

Those who’ve completed their intensive survey and dive training can look forward to short boat trips to the dive sites. Depending on the weather conditions and schedule for the week, dives take place once or twice daily,  five days a week. On other days, you’ll either conduct marine debris surveys or environmental education sessions including awareness raising with the local community members, depending on the needs of the project at the time. Staff will often deliver presentations throughout the week, with study time included in the daily schedule. Days start early, with boat preparations or training, and end with dinner, followed by an evening debrief where we share with the group all the exciting things we have seen, and go through the schedule for the next day. After this, it’s time to relax, take in the beautiful sunset, and share stories. There are also a number of base dogs (who love lots of attention) to keep you company.

Being an eco-minded base, there is a recycling area on base, and planters for growing local endemic plant species, which utilise the harvested rainwater. It’s great when participants bring their own ideas and get involved with more eco-friendly practices, such as ecobricking and non-recycling storage methods.

Accommodation

See what it’s like to live off the beaten track! You’ll sleep in dorm rooms of up to eight people. The gender-separated bathrooms are shared, with showers and flush toilets. The...

Transportation

We provide transfers from the airport to our base in Baie Ternay National Park, which is about an hour’s drive. The beach is very close to our accommodation so we simply walk do...

Communication

We are based in a protected natural reserve, which means that mobile signal doesn’t cover the entire area. There are spots with good phone coverage and we have a phone on base f...

Meals

Sample the many flavours of Seychellois cuisine, from fresh coconut water sipped out of the fruit to green papaya salad. All food is provided by GVI and prepared by participants...

Climate

The Seychelles has an equatorial climate, which means sunshine and warm water all year round, with temperatures averaging 26ºC – 30ºC (79ºF – 86ºF). Tropical rainfal...

COVID-19 Safety

Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.

Learn more

Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic - including destination ratings, flight bookings and tests.

GVI experiences

We want you to make the most of the chance to live in – and contribute towards –  the most diverse and unique wildernesses and communities on earth. Introducing GVI Experiences – immersive adventure, cultural and wellness activities exclusive to GVI that have been specially designed in collaboration with our local partners to support and stimulate sustainable economic development. 

Enhance your impact. Expand your adventure. Explore your world.

Exclusive local GVI experiences
Learn to cook traditional Seychellois Creole dishes
Learn to cook traditional Seychellois Creole dishes
Tastes of the island
Visit the Mission Ruins at Venn's Town
Visit the Mission Ruins at Venn's Town
We recall to never repeat
Paddleboard across the bay
Paddleboard across the bay
Daybreak on the water
Hike through lush forests and across rocky plateaus
Hike through lush forests and across rocky plateaus
View from the top
Explore the ocean after dark with a night dive
Explore the ocean after dark with a night dive
Swim amongst the stars
Discover rare and endemic species of plants
Discover rare and endemic species of plants
Natural biodiversity sanctuary
Swim at a secret beach
Swim at a secret beach
Paradise found
Go fishing with local fishers
Go fishing with local fishers
Catch and release

Free time

Joining a GVI program not only allows you to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems – but it also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer over weekends.

Field staff are a great source of advice and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. You can choose to travel before or after your experience with GVI (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships you’ve established on the program. Please note that the below options are not included in the program fee, and would be up to you to arrange at your own expense.

Weekend Trips

Takamaka rum distillery

The rum distillery at Pointe Au Sel is a popular destination for volunteers to visit. There’s also a tea plantation and local handicraft village ...

Victoria City

The capital of the Seychelles, Victoria (one of the smallest capital cities in the world) is only an hour away from our base in Baie Ternay Marin...

Beau Vallon Bay

The most popular tourist spot on the main island of the Seychelles, Beau Vallon offers a massive stretch of beach, lined with shops and restauran...

Local Adventures

Water sports

Other than diving, there are many other water sports in the Seychelles, like surfing, kayaking, sailing and snorkeling. And of course, there̵...

Cap Matoopa hike

Cap Matoopa is the highest point next to our base, and offers spectacular views of Cap Ternay Bay. Climb the jungle-encrusted granite rocks to th...

Recreational diving

The dives we conduct on the project have a strict research focus. There are, however, plenty of opportunities to go for a recreational dive in yo...

Hiking and climbing

The inner islands of the Seychelles, where you will be staying while on this project, are made of granite, which means there are many opportuniti...

Further Travels

Inner island hopping

From the capital of Victoria, you can catch a ferry to many of the other inner islands, like Praslin, La Digue, Silhouette, Felicity and Sister. ...

Cultural Immersion

Engaging intimately with a new context teaches global awareness, adaptability and critical thinking – skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and will also be one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many different activities that you can get involved in during your free time, or before and after your program.

On our community programs, the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore topics like local cuisine and religion, or how sustainable development challenges are affecting local contexts.

Mahe

GVI’s marine conservation program in the Seychelles is based on the main island of Mahe – the largest granitic island in the Seychelles, surround...

Seychelles

The Seychelles is a tropical archipelago off the east coast of Africa, consisting of over 100 islands. The islands located near the center of the...

Testimonials

Jack Thomas

26 Nov, 2019

I undertook the six month divemaster internship at GVI Cap Ternay in Seychelles. After recently graduating university I wanted to complete my divemaster qualification in order to w ...

Tate Reid

25 Nov, 2013

Training was good and I was confident in what I was doing when I started monitoring, the best aspects of the program were the diving, meeting people and also being able to live wit ...

Speak to alumni

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.

We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.

Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.

Get a first-hand perspective

Meet us

Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.

Arrivals

When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.

As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. In most locations, we also set up a Whatsapp group to help with managing airport arrivals. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.

COVID-19 safety

Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.

Learn more

Flights

Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic - including destination ratings, flight bookings and tests.

Your Impact

All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the UN SDGs. Then once you arrive on base, you’ll learn about the specific goals we have in this particular location, our various objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to be an active global citizen after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Healthy corals are key to the health of our planet. They help fish populations regenerate themselves, provide shelter for juvenile fish, assist in removing excess carbon dioxide from our atmosphere, and protect living spaces near the shore from damage by waves and storms.

In 1998, a massive coral bleaching event decimated many coral reefs, where up to 90% of coral reefs were lost around the globe, including the reefs surrounding the inner granitic islands of the Seychelles. Algae is the main food source for corals and helps to maintain their structure. Coral bleaching occurs when rising water temperatures cause the algae that live on corals to detach themselves from their hosts. Warm waters are the result of climate change caused by excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

In addition to the high seasonal sea temperatures, the coral reefs around the Seychelles face numerous other threats, such as population pressure, poaching, and unsustainable tourism, all of which are challenging to quantify without a solid, scientific basis. In order to effectively manage and conserve the reef, a continuous monitoring program is necessary to build up a comprehensive picture of the ecological health of the reef.

Efforts to monitor the recovery of reefs in the Seychelles were initiated after the 1998 event. This began with a three-year project, named the Shoals of Capricorn, which extensively monitored the entire inner islands. The Seychelles Centre for Marine Research & Technology  (SCMRT) was set up at this time to continue the work and to aid the Seychelles National Parks and Gardens Authority (SGPA), with the management of the marine parks. After the Shoals of Capricorn project, the monitoring was taken over by Reef Care International.

This program has a significant impact on local and national marine conservation laws and regulations, including the utilisation of GVI collected data to help establish and set catchment limits each year for key fisheries species.

Corals and Fish Surveys

We established our project in the Seychelles in 2004 with the aim of aiding our primary partner SGPA. At over 20 sites across the North-West coast of Mahe, GVI staff and participants use the protocols of Reef Care International in order to survey the reefs. These surveys include noting the health of existing coral, evidence of new young coral growing on the reef, the presence, abundance and diversity of fish and invertebrate species, and select species sizes. Data on coral recovery as well as fish abundance and diversity is passed on to the SPGA to assist with their management and legislative decisions, which might include updates to policies, expanding currently protected areas, or protecting additional areas from overfishing. For example, sea cucumbers are profitable, so we monitor them to assist our partners in making informed science-based decisions. In addition, we use a different citizen science coral monitoring technique to provide data to CoralWatch, a worldwide coral monitoring methodology based at Queensland University, Australia, which aims to monitor coral bleaching and recovery events around the globe.

Sharing our long-term monitoring data to SPGA allows them to better track and monitor  changing reef dynamics and the potential recovery of coral species and coral reef associated species. This partnership provides invaluable data which is then used to petition for science backed policy changes to better protect the reefs and marine life in the Seychelles. 

Commercial Marine Species Surveys

Unsustainable fishing is also a threat to the health of the Seychellois marine life. This  affects the well-being of the local community (many of whom rely on fish for daily subsistence), and the growth of the local economy (seafood from the Seychelles is exported and sold to international visitors to the islands). Its underwater treasures are another reason why many people visit every year, bringing capital into the country. We assist the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), through our partnership with SPGA, with monitoring commonly harvested species like octopus, lobster, and sea cucumber populations.

Marine Megafauna Sightings

Incidental sightings of marine megafauna like reef sharks and sea turtles occur frequently during dives, and this information is noted and passed on to the Ocean Biogeographic Information System or OBIS Seamap, an online database designed to keep track of various large marine species around the world. 

Marine Plastic Pollution Cleanups

Beach cleans and ocean floor cleanup dives are also regularly conducted as part of the Dive Against Debris (DAD) initiative. For DAD, we dive to pick up marine fishing gear and ghost nets (these account for more than 50% of all marine trash) as well as discarded plastics and general waste. The data about types and amounts of marine plastics collected is sent to Project AWARE, an organisation established to monitor the abundance and diversity of marine debris around the world. 

Environmental Education

Environmental education is also an important part of our GVI Mahe program. The main aim of this program is to get members of the local community involved in discussions around issues affecting their marine environment. A new program called the LEAP Project (Locally Empowered Area Protection) has been established with our partners Nature Seychelles and aims to enhance coastal and marine socio-ecological resilience and biodiversity conservation in the Western Indian Ocean. With a much higher level of community engagement and involvement with local groups, such as schools and other environmentally focused local NGOs.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals

All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or UN SDGs. We want to be able to measure our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, so all our staff and volunteers know which UN SDGs they’re making a substantial contribution to. This also helps our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Prior to your arrival on base, you’ll be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. Then, once on base you’ll learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also insight into how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

The main United Nations Sustainable Development Goals we strive to support at GVI Mahe are Goal 14: Life Below Water, Goal 15: Life on Land and Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals.

Our partners

Project objectives

 

GVI Mahe, Seychelles Long-term Objectives:

1. Provide a long-term and consistent collection of data, which assesses the overall health and development of the reef system in Northern Mahe on behalf of the Seychelles Parks and Gardens Authority. This data can also be used for regional coastal marine management and international understanding of changing reef systems.

2. Increase the scientific output and awareness of the project through the publication of findings.

3. Continue to support the International School of Seychelles by providing their students with environmental education with a strong focus on marine ecosystems and their inhabitants.

4. Increase in-country capacity by assisting with environmental education and training to members of the local communities.

5. Continue to minimise our environmental impact at Cap Ternay and raise awareness of environmental issues among our participants and visitors.

Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.

 

We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.

Our 10 ethical commitments

01

Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.

02

Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.

03

Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.

04

Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.

05

Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.

06

Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that every participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.

07

Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.

08

Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conducted, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.

09

Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.

10

Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.

Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics. GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.

However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.

Program ethics

No orphanage programs

We don’t support or allow participants to work in institutional residential care facilities, also known as orphanages. We partner with ReThink Orphanages and Freedom United.

Learn more
Child and vulnerable adult protection policy

Our Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy requires all our staff and participants to complete a criminal background check and to learn why you shouldn’t reveal a child’s identifying factors in photographs. We support the ChildSafe Movement.

Learn more
No medical volunteering

We don’t offer any programs where our participants engage in medical treatment. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country. Our participants only assist with public health programs.

Learn more
No disability support programs

We don’t offer any programs where our participants work directly with people with disabilities. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country.

Learn more
Aligned to local objectives

Each one of our initiatives is aligned to objectives set by a local organisation or professional. Our staff and participants work to support these local actors in achieving their specific goals.

Local employees remain employed

Our participants don’t replace the staff employed by local organisations. Rather, they support currently employed staff with achieving their objectives. Our goal is always to increase local capacity to address local problems.

Local employees remain focused

Participants require training and support to ensure that they carry out tasks correctly. Our staff provide this training and support so that local staff can focus on what is truly important to their organisation at the time.

No entertainment-based activities

We don’t support the use of wild animals for entertainment purposes. This includes riding animals, having them perform tricks, feeding or bathing them or getting close to them to take photos

No orphaned animal sanctuaries

We don’t encourage, support or allow the rearing of “orphaned” wild baby animals kept at a “sanctuary”. The conservation value of these types of programs is negligent and would only ethically be used in extremely rare cases

Guidelines for touching or movement restriction

When wild animals are restricted for conservation purposes we follow the guidelines of Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA), approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Animal welfare guidelines

We ensure that the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare are followed. These include the freedom to express normal behaviour and freedom from distress, discomfort, hunger, thirst, fear, pain, injury or disease.

Local community empowerment

We ensure that conservation efforts are also always locally led, that community needs are front-and centre of any conservation effort and that our participants, projects and partners work to increase local community engagement in local conservation efforts.

Learn more
No veterinary programs

We don’t offer any veterinary programs or animal rescue and rehabilitation programs. We don’t allow participants to do any work they would not be able to do in their home country.

Learn more

Training

A GVI program is an investment in your career. No matter which you choose, you will be working toward improving your employability by mastering new social skills, gaining further technical expertise and earning qualifications in many cases. Most of our staff are, in fact, GVI Alumni, and we have helped many of our Alumni discover, move toward, and earn their own personal dream jobs. Each program includes introductory workshops, ongoing presentations, as well as on-the-ground professional support provided by our very own trained staff members. In addition, our training programs are critical for helping us to ensure the long-term impact of our sustainable development projects around the world.

For all GVI participants

Orientation: Your Health, Safety and Wellbeing

Learn about COVID-19 pre-departure guidelines, base expectations, personal and area hygiene practices and what we are doing to keep you safe.

Orientation: Travelling Responsibly and Ethically

Learn about the importance of child and vulnerable adult protection best practices and how to apply them while on project.

Orientation: UN Sustainable Development Goals

Introduction to the history and evolution of sustainable development, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and how these related to your project work.

Orientation: Further Opportunities for Impact

Learn about our country locations and further opportunities available to you during or after your program.

For all participants at Mahe

Community: Human Empowerment

Learn about our empowerment principles.

Conservation: Survey Techniques and Logistics

An introduction to different survey techniques and best practice guidelines for surveys; introduction to different types of data and how to record information via a datasheet.

Conservation: Biodiversity & Target Species Identification

Learn about biodiversity and how biodiversity is measured, and classifying different species and how to identify species that indicate the health of the habitat.

Marine Conservation: Pollution and Plastics

Learn about issues with plastic and measures that can be taken to help reduce plastic consumption.

Marine Conservation: Coral Reefs

Learn about what a coral reef is, its importance, how it is formed, how this ecosystem works.

Plastic Pollution And Other Trash

Learn about the effect of waste on the ocean and what we can do about it. It is not required training but an additional presentation offered to volunteers and interns who stay for longer and have more time available.

Crown-of-thorns Starfish Removal

This is a species of starfish that is harmful to both humans and coral. You will learn how to remove these from the reef safely. It is not required training but an additional presentation offered to volunteers and interns who stay for longer and have more time available.

Coral Watch

This is a global coral monitoring methodology all volunteers can get involved with. It is separate to our main study focus with Seychelles National Parks Authority, SNPA. It is not required training but an additional presentation offered to volunteers and interns who stay for longer and have more time available.

Emergency Oxygen Therapy Orientation

All volunteers are taught how to provide oxygen to divers in varying states on consciousness.

Survey-specific Buoyancy Training

Learning how to control your buoyancy to ensure that you do not accidentally damage the reef while conducting research.

PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality

This is a distinctive specialty unique only to GVI, created in collaboration with PADI. It provides instruction on the different types of reef monitoring available, along with certain skills which are needed to ensure that you are comfortable using monitoring equipment such as tape measures and quadrats and that there is no damage done to the reef while you navigate around the site.

PADI Advanced Open Water (AOW) Certification

5 specialised dives are required to gain this qualification, those we offer include the Boat Dive, Underwater Navigation, Underwater Naturalist, Deep Diver, and Peak Performance Buoyancy. A knowledge review is also required.

Species-specific Marine Survey Techniques

Once participants are comfortable with identifying the species on site, they will be trained on the different techniques used to monitor these species underwater.

Coral, fish, or invertebrates workshops

A few weeks before arrival on the base, you will be assigned to monitoring either coral, fish, or invertebrates. This includes several presentations to introduce you to the specific species.

Megafauna

Learn to identify different types of megafauna, larger sea creatures, you might see on a dive near Mahe. You will be asked to also monitor their numbers on your dives.

Threats To The Reef

Learn what are the natural and man-made issues threatening the survival of the reefs.

Introduction To Coral Reefs

Includes an explanation of what a coral reef is, its importance, how it is formed, and how this ecosystem works.

Hazards Of The Reef

Learn which creatures pose a risk while in the water, best practices to avoid injury, and what to do if injured.

Certificates & qualifications

PADI Certifications

Earning a professional diving qualification, such as those offered by The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), is a necessary step for many aspiring marine biologists. All GVI marine conservation programs include training by certified dive instructors that allows participants to qualify for a range of PADI certifications including PADI Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Divemaster, Instructor, Rescue Diver and Master Scuba Diver Trainer.

PADI Reef Ecosystem Diver (RESD) Speciality

The PADI RESD Specialty Course is designed to educate divers about how to correctly identify specific species associated with coral reefs (i.e. invertebrates, fish, megafauna and corals) as well as how to choose the correct method of surveying to indicate the health of the reef ecosystem over time. Focusing on the size estimations of corals and fish, as well as the abundance of all reef organisms to give a good indication of the diversity and health of the reef. Participants will also learn to improve their in-water skills (i.e. buoyancy and monitoring techniques).

The goals of the RESD Diver training are to teach how to accurately identify coral reef species and the correct monitoring procedures/methods to collect viable data to indicate the health of the reef over time. Initially educating the students on the conservation methods used to monitor local reef systems associated with human impact.

EFR Certificate

A basic first aid qualification is a requirement for many professions including professional diving, primary school teachers, and occupational therapists. A first aid course certified by Emergency First Response (EFR) is included in several of our programs. The course is one of the most highly reputed first aid training programs available around the world. The medical best practices and teaching methodologies of the organization are backed up by nearly five decades of experience. The course helps participants master skills like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), how to use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), and administer emergency oxygen for infants, children, and adults.

University of Richmond Certificate Careers in Sustainability

Career paths in social and environmental impact are not as well-established as in other fields. That’s why we’ll provide our interns who have successfully completed their program with our Careers in Sustainable Development course. In this course, you’ll learn about current and emerging opportunities in a range of sectors, allowing you to make the best decision about your future.

This online course, valued at £295, is included in all internships. Full course details can be found here.

University of Richmond Certificate Leading Teams for Impact

Leadership is a critical skill set for anyone looking to make an impact or drive sustainable development. Develop your own leadership style and learn how to set achievable objectives, give effective feedback and manage conflict successfully. After successfully completing the course, which you have the option of doing prior to your in-country program, you’ll receive a certificate from the University of Richmond.

This online course, valued at £295, is included in all volunteering programs. Full course details can be found here.

University of Richmond Certificate Marine Conservation

Learn more about what is contributing to the decline in the health of the world’s ocean and marine species and what can be done to prevent it. You’ll gain a greater understanding of the field of marine conservation, explore how to protect marine ecosystems and discover how you can contribute towards conservation-related initiatives. After successfully completing the course, which you have the option of doing prior to your in-country program, you’ll receive a certificate from the University of Richmond.

This online course, valued at £295, is included in all volunteering programs. Full course details can be found here.

Support & Safety

We won’t sugarcoat it — traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.

COVID-19 safety

Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.

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Safety

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Support

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Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic - including destination ratings, flight bookings and tests.

Health and safety case studies

How GVI upholds health and safety

It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays ju...

GVI's commitment to safety and security

As the saying goes: ‘Expect the best, plan for the worst’. Cliched or not, we take it to heart. This tenet is at the core of how GVI operates when it comes to promoting the heal...

How GVI remains prepared for natural disasters

The weather isn’t just a topic for polite small-talk here at GVI. We have emergency action plans in place for all scenarios. So when the weather, or other natural forces, takes ...

How GVI manages participants expectations

Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations a...

Covid-19 Response

Health and Hygiene

For over 20 years, GVI has prioritised the health and safety of our staff, participants, partners and local community members. In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, GVI has created the GVI health and hygiene team to put in place new standards of cleanliness, norms and behaviours that meet or exceed international recommendations to ensure the ongoing safety of GVI’s participants, staff and communities around the world. Internationally recommended practices, such as advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the governments Australia, UK and US, continue to be monitored and the standards are likely to change if and when international advice changes.

The work GVI is contributing to across the globe remains important and the following measures allow our participants to continue to join GVI’s programs and continue impacting positively on their world and the communities we work with. The following changes to our existing protocols have been made by the GVI health and hygiene team to strengthen our health and hygiene protocols and ensure that international standard safeguards are in place to protect our participants, staff and host communities.

Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic - including destination ratings, flight bookings and tests.

Read up on our COVID-19 protocols

Live Updates

Volunteer in the Seychelles with GVI and discover a country famed for its endemic flora and fauna, unspoiled beaches and beautiful coral reefs.
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Included in your program

A variety of the following exclusive, locally-curated adventure and wellness activities are available on a monthly basis.

Learn to cook traditional Seychellois Creole dishes

Visit the Mission Ruins at Venn's Town

Paddleboard across the bay

Hike through lush forests and across rocky plateaus

Explore the ocean after dark with a night dive

Discover rare and endemic species of plants

Swim at a secret beach

Go fishing with local fishers