Professional
Apprenticeship

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.

GVI Hub: a home-from-home
Durations: 24 weeks

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.

New epic locations, habitats & species!

Get up to 15% off when you book before 29 February
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Travel flexibility. Transfer for free up to 45 days before travel. Because life happens. Terms and conditions apply.
Overview
Dates & Prices
Itinerary
What's Included
Life On Base
Experiences
New
Free time
Cultural Immersion
Speak to alumni
MEET THE TEAM
Parent Info
Arrivals
Flights
Your Impact
Our Ethics
Program ethics
Qualifications & Training Options
Careers
Support & Safety

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

PADI Divemaster & work placement

Complete your PADI Divemaster certification in Seychelles. Then travel to Thailand, where you’ll complete a 3-month placement at a dive centre and gain experience selecting dive sites, leading dives, teaching dive lessons and working with customers.

A diver’s paradise

Across two spectacular countries – Seychelles and Thailand – experience some of the best dive sites in the world and encounter the ocean’s most charismatic megafauna.

Kickstart your career

Participate in three months of intensive fieldwork training to ensure you’re ready to launch directly into your conservation career.

Get a job placement

Work for a conservation partner for three months to get real practical experience and build a network of industry contacts.

Fast track experience

Join a targeted career-readiness program that’s based on two decades of experience to grow your leadership and career skills.

Receive a career guarantee

Because our apprenticeships are so intensive and comprehensive, completing all components ensures you a guaranteed job offer.

Advance your career

Gain international experience, receive four recognised qualifications and get a LinkedIn reference to boost your CV.

Get the edge

We know what it takes to work in conservation – that’s why our apprenticeships qualify for preferential recruitment when applying for GVI vacancies.

Kickstart your career

Participate in three months of intensive fieldwork training to ensure you’re ready to launch directly into your conservation career.

Get a job placement

Work for a conservation partner for three months to get real practical experience and build a network of industry contacts.

Fast track experience

Join a targeted career-readiness program that’s based on two decades of experience to grow your leadership and career skills.

Get a career guarantee

Because our apprenticeships are so intensive and comprehensive, you’ll get a guaranteed job offer if you complete all components.

Advance your career

Gain international experience, receive four recognised qualifications and get a LinkedIn reference to boost your CV.

Get the edge

We know what it takes to work in conservation – that’s why our apprenticeships qualify for preferential recruitment when applying for GVI vacancies.

Is this program for me?

This internship is specifically useful for someone who has or is actively studying the below subject areas at school, university or college, or has an interest in these subject areas.

  • Marine science
  • Ecology
  • Population biology
  • Epidemiology
  • Biology
  • Environmental science
  • Zoology
  • Botany
  • Marine biology
  • Ecology and evolution
  • Environment management
  • Marine conservation

Activities

Some of the example typical activities you could participate in on this program.

Fieldwork training

Learn how to identify species and conduct surveys so that you can contribute to data collection efforts and help build an inventory of marine species in both Seychelles and Thailand.

Lead conservation surveys

Assist with reef ecosystem monitoring to assess bleaching and growth/recovery rates of the coral. You will also get involved with invertebrate, fish, seagrass, shark and other megafauna surveys.

Support conservation project team

Assist with additional activities as needed. This might include: seagrass ecosystem monitoring, marine megafauna sightings, weekly beach cleans, and entering data from beach patrols and cleanups into citizen science databases.

Leadership and fast-track training

Get additional training in: Impact and Ethics, Intro to Project Management, Effective Communication, Leading Teams for Impact, Off-Site Safety Management, Participant Management, Self Leadership & Well-being, and GVI Policies and Procedures.

Leadership responsibilities

Take on additional responsibilities such as entering data, writing reports and summaries, and updating species lists and fieldwork checklists.

Personal project

Work on an individual project that aligns with your personal interests like analysing target species data or monitoring the coastal pollution.

Mentorship

Meet weekly in a small group with other interns and an experienced mentor to receive project guidance and feedback on your leadership style.

PADI Advanced Open Water

Gain more diving experience by completing different types of adventure dives: deep water, underwater navigator, peak performance buoyancy, underwater naturalist, night diver, search and recovery diver, and boat diver.

PADI Emergency First Response (EFR)

Learn primary and secondary care theory and then practise applying these skills in role-playing scenarios designed to improve your first aid knowledge and prepare you for an emergency.

PADI RESD Speciality

Undertake a PADI specialty that is exclusive to GVI – the PADI Reef Ecosystem Diver (RESD) Distinctive Speciality. This certification has been uniquely designed to advance your conservation diving skills and teach you how to conduct coral reef surveys.

PADI Rescue Diver

Increase your awareness of diver safety, manage more complex situations and apply direct intervention techniques via role-playing rescue scenarios. Only applies to programs longer than 8 weeks.

PADI Divemaster

Organise and direct a variety of scuba-diving activities, including classroom presentations, pool sessions, ocean training sessions, and assisting on courses and guided dives.

Skills

  • Data entry
  • EFR training
  • Marine conservation
  • PADI
  • Species identification
  • Survey research

Partners

Some of the partners we work with on base.

Seychelles Parks & Gardens Authority (SPGA)
Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment
Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA)
Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT)
Blue Economy Research Institute (BERI Labs)
Coral Watch

Program details

Dates and prices

Select a start date:

Nature, my happy place.

See new locations, habitats & species with up to 15% off on selected programs.

Special offer valid only until 29 February.
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.

Itinerary

The following itinerary is an example of the activities and project work that participants might get involved in on this program. More specific details of the program are finalised several months before each start date.

06:30

Start your day bright and early! If you're an early riser, walk to the beach and take in the sunrise and the ocean view.

07:00

Team breakfast, then prep for the day: getting the boat and equipment ready for your first dive, or preparing for your coastal activities.

07:30

Start by getting trained in diving/ conservation. Once you're all set, you'll switch gears to doing surveys that help the project reach its goals.

12:00

Lunch is enjoyed in our dining hall, or for those on the boat, you’ll eat a picnic lunch onboard the boat to fuel all the scientific research.

12:30

Training or marine activities like research dives, beach cleans and surveys. Your data supports ongoing studies and citizen science databases.

17:30

Return to base and get stuck into some base duties, including kit cleaning and storage.

18:30

Teams take turns to plan and prepare dinner every evening which makes for a wide variety of meals, enjoyed together as a group.

19:30

Time to relax or get involved in social activities on base. Make use of the common areas to spend time with your new friends, play a game, or do some studying.

What’s included?

What's included
General
Food
Safe and basic accommodation (usually shared)
Airport pick up (unless stated)
All project equipment
24-hour in-country support from local staff
24-hour emergency desk
GVI Experiences
Activities
Sustainable project work
Data collection and research
Leadership responsibilities
Personal project
Placement
12-week placement
Mentorship
Weekly group sessions
Internship supervisor guidance
Pre-program training
Pre-departure webinar
Pre-departure training (online)
University of Richmond endorsed specialisation course
University of Richmond endorsed leadership course
Welcome training
GVI welcome presentation
Health & safety
Local culture & environment
UN SDGs
Impact & ethics
Child protection
Advanced leadership training
Personal development record
Project planning and management
Fast track training
Self-leadership and well-being
Project management
Ethical engagement
Measuring impact
Developing intercultural competence
Effective communication (storytelling and social media)
Team management
Participant journey
Off-site safety management
Safety management in practice (OSSM part 2)
Standards, policies and procedures
Emergency first response (select hubs)
Career services
University of Richmond careers course
Career coaching sessions (x2)
Career guarantee
LinkedIn reference – upon request
Job portal
Preferential recruitment on GVI positions
Certificates
Program certificate
University certificate – specialisation (University of Richmond)
University certificate – leadership (University of Richmond)
University certificate – careers (University of Richmond)
Fast track training certificate
What's excluded
Not included
Flights
International and domestic airport taxes
Medical and travel insurance
Visa costs
Police or background check
Personal items and toiletries
Additional drinks and gratuities

Life On Base

A short three-minute walk from the beach, our Cap Ternay research station is based in Baie Ternay Marine National Park, 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, such as reef sharks, dolphins, eagle rays, tropical fish, endemic birds and interesting coastal creatures and critters. 

Originally a school, the building has been transformed into an environmentally-aware research station 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.

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.

Days start early, with boat or coastal equipment 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. If you’ve joined a diving program and have completed your intensive survey and dive training, you’ll enjoy short boat trips to nearby 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. 

For island conservation and wildlife programs, you’ll head out after breakfast to help with surveys, either by snorkelling, hiking or doing beach patrols. Depending on the conservation projects at the time, you might collect data on nudibranchs, island birds, crustaceans, mollusks or seagrass, to name a few.

Accommodation

See what it’s like to live off the beaten track! There are three dorm rooms, each with around 6–10 single ...

Transportation

We provide transfers from the airport to our base in Baie Ternay National Park, which is about an hour’s drive. There is a bus service from Port ...

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 ...

Climate

The Seychelles has an equatorial climate, which means sunshine and warm water all year round, with temperatures averaging

GVI experiences included in your program, at no extra cost.

Offered once a month, expand your adventure with GVI Experiences. These are just some of the activities offered on your program!

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.

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

The highest point next to our base, Cap Matoopa offers spectacular views of Cap Ternay Bay. Climb the jung...

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 programs in the Seychelles are based on the main island of Ma...

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...

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

Meet the team

Get acquainted with the GVI Africa, Seychelles, Cap Ternay, GVI Asia, Thailand, Phang Nga family

Jasmine Taberer

Program Manager

This is Jasmine, also known as Jazzy, our wonderful Program Manager at the GVI base on Mahe Island, Seychelles. Jazzy grew up with a keen interest in conservation which lead her ...

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.

GVI is a proud member of the Gap Year Association.

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.

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.

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 s