Ok so here's my situation.  I've already payed my deposit on the Standard Career Package (9 weeks) at The Underwater Centre which starts on the 4th of October this year.  I knew about both the diving schoolas mentioned but didn't really check out the Professional Diving Academy until now and what I've seen has kind of made me worry if I've made the right choice.

Basically for The Underwater Centre I'm paying £8,773 which will get me

HSE First Aid at Work
HSE Surface Supplied
HSE Surface Supplied (Top Up)

and also including the full board accomodation I'm paying for thats another £2,488.50 so in total I'm paying £11,261.50

Now I've just check on the Professional Diving Academy that I can do the Premier Career Package (10weeks) for £9985 and I get

HSE First Aid @ Work & 02 Provider (Commercial Diving Endorsement)
HSE Professional SCUBA (Part 4)
HSE Surface Supplied (Part 3)
HSE Surface Supplied Top-Up (Part 1)
Construction and Inspection Diver Award
RYA Powerboat Level II
Lantra HSE Approved Chainsaw Course

these guys don't have accomodation but apparently you can get self catering B&B varying from £100 to £200 a week

I reckon they both will probably work out around the same amount of money but I should I go for The Professional Diving Academy just because of 3 extra qualifications or stick to The Underwater Centre?

I basically have until Friday 27th of this month to cancel my deposit with a 20% administration fee, after that I will lose all my deposit which is £1000.  Would be good to hear from people who have studied at both schools.


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Education is expensive my boy.
Always look before you leap.
Can't really say anything about the underwater centre but I can tell you that my training at the PDA was 1st class and that was before they started the Premier course.  What personal gear do the underwater centre give you as that needs to be a consideration if price is important, I know my suits saved me around £700 now that I'm thinking of a new one!
All you get at the end of the course from TUC is overalls, logbook and a t-shirt and it says on the PDA website that you get all of this

Top of the Range Ri 2100 O'Three Drysuit. O'Three Bag and Changing Matt. O'Three Base Layers. Fladen Two Piece Flotation Suit. Professional Diving Academy Coveralls and Polo Shirt. Professional Divers Handbook, by John Bevan. Green River Diving Knife. Buoyancy Jacket. Hard Hat. IMCA Divers Logbook. Course Manuals and Carry Bag.

So going on that info I would be better off with PDA. Because that was going to be one of my questions when I go to visit TUC next week. For my fisrt job I take it 9 times out of 10 I'll have to have my own personal equipment, they won't supply anything?
true... I'm a PDA graduate myself. Those 3 extra courses should not make you switch schools. It's all the inclusive stuff mentioned above that should change your mind. Also you're nearly diving a different location daily, instead of diving of that same pier at TUC throughout the wh*** course. Then again you'll learn the trade only on jobs and not in school. You do the math ;)
Yeah I've been trying to figure out the price of all the stuff you get with PDA but I'm guessing it will be cheaper getting it with the Premier Course at PDA than buying it myself after I done TUC. Been reading around the forums and people do say you don't actually start learning until you get your job and I realise that straight out of school I will just be a newbie with a qualification lol.
Looks like a grab bag set up to me. Education is about the learning lil bro, not the extras (junk you should already have in your bag or can pick up at a used clothing store.
Look at the quality of the education, nothing else. Just cause theres flashing lights and nude girls on the door, doesnt mean your gonna enjoy the view once you go thru the door.
Stick with what you already committed to. YOu wont regret the choice later....
Hi Jerry

Every school in the UK offers the same "quality" education. As long as you complete the same course requirements, follow the same standards and pay upfront you get a ticket. So if the quality is the same, why not compare the quantity.
Hey Mike,
Make sure they have the standard qualifications for working world wide...DCBC, IMCA etc.
If working offshore intrigues you must have these tickets....later
Alvie I believe the HSE is still regarded as the best diver certificate to have and is recognised worldwide. There was a Canadian guy on my course, who I believe was going back to work with a company in Vancouver, but his old man who's a sat diver out east told him to get his ass over to Scotland first to get a "proper ticket"! Mike I've been looking at PDA and UWC websites for more info on what you get on each course. By the look of it your not just getting one qualification with the PDA Premier course, it looks like all the training that's included in the £2.5k Construction & Inspection courses are included in the Premier. If that's the case then your getting burning and welding plus all the tooling and inspection stuff that they had when I was there. They also look to have a really good slinging,rigging course which is totally new.

My advice is to give Carol a phone at the PDA office, she will put you right as far as any info you need about this course. I would also take the time to visit both schools for definite.

Best of luck buddy, hope it all works out for you wherever you end up!
Yeah I think I might do that. I'm heading up to Forres tomorrow for a week and I'm going to pop down to TUC to have a look around and speak to them an I'm gonna let them know that I'm unsure about whether I'ver made the right choice. Obviously they'll give me the hard sell for their course but to be getting the exact same qualifications with the RYA Powerboat Level II, Lantra HSE Approved Chainsaw Course and the Construction and Inspection Diver Award at PDA and with all the equipment ontop of that when you qualify I would like to hear what TUC has to say to convince me.
Mike that's the best plan for sure, especially when your in the area.

One thing I can add about PDA is its owned and run by divers. Their other company is called Sheerwater Marine who are a pretty big outfit from what I saw. The two companies share the same yard so you get the occasional chance to yarn with the Sheerwater guys when there mobing and demobing. We had their supervisors running dives a few times as well as the PDA supervisors. You've always got an instructor on site and he's the guy who's training you. However slip up and do something careless (like dropping the 1st stage on the deck) and its hair dryer time from the Sup! Its straight down the line no fkn messing about with these guys and they will praise you and abuse you in equal measure depending on your performance. All were top bollocks in my view and certainly turned me into a baby diver. I see the drysuit has been upgraded, darn it we had to pay an extra £200 if we wanted the Ri!!! http://www.othree.co.uk/drysuits/ri2100/ri2100.html
Personally I would do the bare minimum you need to get qualified, do the HSE scuba, surface supplied and top up. I wouldn't waste anymore money on courses that nobody in the civils industry really bothers with. Nobody is going to care if you have a construction award or a Lantra chainsaw ticket, you don't even need a ticket to use a chainsaw underwater or any other tool for that matter. If you want to play with chainsaws go and become a wood butcher.

TUC will give you the hard sell, that is how they remain in business. Just out of curiosity, phone up 10 diving firms and ask them if they have any work, tell them you just left the school. Then let us all know how many offer you a job, bearing in mind it is probably as busy now as it will be all year.


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