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GUE Agency Crossovers

Discussion in 'Technical Diving' started by Gareth Burrows, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. Gareth Burrows

    Gareth Burrows Super Moderator
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    I wasn't sure to put this, but it's a GUE question rather than a DIR one so I kept it out of the DIR forum. A couple of people, including Big Si, have asked me why GUE do not do agency crossovers - why do we not allow people of appropriate training to cross over to a similar level within GUE. Well, we sort of do, and we don't.

    To answer that question, you have to go back in time to when and why GUE was first formed. A group of cave divers in Florida were exploring a huge new cave system in the late 1990s. They were comprised of very highly qualified cave and technical divers from every agency. However, there were a couple of problems. Firstly, time was being wasted. If the divers had a weekend to set up a big dive with staged cylinders and then do a push dive, they were wasting too much time on the first day going through what procedures divers would use, and how equipment was configured. This meant that there was little time left for actually diving,and people were investing a lot of money and time to be in the water, not talk about how to handle an out of gas. The second problem was more serious. People were getting hurt. A lack of standardisation in equipment and procedures, and differing levels of training, were leading to confusion in the water, and unfortunately some incidents. In order to deal with these issues, GUE was formed to standardise the equipment and procedures, and the incidents fell away.

    Now fast forward a couple of years. GUE is becoming a global organisation, with instructors all over the place. More and more people were becoming interested in taking the Cave and Technical courses that GUE offered. So they paid their money and turned up. And failed. Too frequently. too many people, qualified trimix and cave divers, and instructors, and instructor trainers, who simply did not have the ability to cope with the courses. the courses were being disrupted whilst the instructors tried to get people's buoyancy, trim, and other skills up to a level that would allow them to participate in the course. this was clearly extremely stressful for the diver, and not fair on the other students. This is why GUE fundamentals was created as a course, to ensure that people who went along to the more advanced courses were not wasting their time, and to put the skills in place that were required to do these courses if they were missing. this allowed students to attend the courses and learn, rather than frantically get up to speed.

    It worked well,and continues to work well. We often have divers with vast training from other agencies struggle on fundamentals, but on successfully completing the course, go on to enjoy technical or cave training. In fact, divers with fewer dives tend to fare better. One of the best divers I know did fundamentals with 20 dives, yet I know trimix instructors who have struggled because they are having to relearn procedures they already know well, but are different - which of course wasprecisely GUE's point in the first place.

    So, in a nutshell, the reason there is no obvious crossover it because experience has taught us that it is better for both students and instructors to ensure that the skills and knowledge are in place before asking someone to go through a technical or cave course, than waste their time and money if they are not ready for the course.

    That being said, there actually IS a mechanism for crossing over to GUE. It would be arrogant of GUE to assume no-one has the ability to just step into a GUE team at any level. So they have provided a way for divers to crossover. All you have to do is explain to GUE HQ that you wish to crossover to GUE at Tech1 or 2, or at Cave1 or 2, and they will arrange for an instructor to perform an in-water evaluation. However, you will be fully expected to understand all the equipment requirements, protocols, procedures, and theory of that level, in addition to having the equivelent level of competency in all the required skills for that level. Bearing in mind GUE's reasoning behind the creation of the fundamentals course, you can imagine how often this happens.

    I'm sure this will start a ruck, but it genuinely isn't meant to. I'm just responding to a question I've been asked a few times now.

    BTW if anyone thinks this should be in the DIR forum I'm happy to have it moved.

    G
     
  2. Major Clanger

    Major Clanger P-Plated Meg Diver

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    As GUE uses DIR for its framework, I think this would sit well in the DIR forum as a stickified DIR post along with other DIR posts deserving such status IMO.
     
  3. bottlefish

    bottlefish Super dooper member
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    I think it would be nice to see a mid way step, an audit on what you know and then teaching on what you don't.

    There are a lot of methods shared between GUE and other diving agencies, e.g wings and twins, hog looping, trim, propulsion methods, SMB deploy, spools etc etc etc. Whilst nobody should be arrogant enough to believe that they've nothing to learn, being taught from scratch in these areas would probably not be necessary, an audit with counselling/make ups should suffice (if they were taught properly in the first place ;))

    There are some areas that are specific to GUE/DIR, e.g the team and signalling, ratio deco, standard gases and planning etc etc. You're unlikely to know unless you've been through a course previously, so you'd need to be taught... realistically you're likely to find this on any course if crossing over between agencies/instructors, different teams and instructors have different ways of doing things (unless you're GUE/DIR of course)

    From my perspective, I know that there's absolutely no way I would pass an audit on GUE Tech 1 or 2 as it currently stands, however I don't think it would take me a full fundamentals course and tech 1 course to get to the required level... given that the courses aren't exactly cheap, I'd be put off. The amount I'd learn, and the benefits I'd get wouldn't stack up against the amount of time and money I'd need to invest.

    That, of course, is a choice thing (and realistically there's no way I'd choose to regardless of price, there's some elements I just don't agree with... and I still haven't managed to kick the evil nicotine habit :(), however it's a choice that a lot of divers will make quickly. If they can't justify the spend, why would they do it?

    I don't think GUE are after world domination in the diver market, so perhaps this isn't an issue, however it would be nice if they would recognise and accomodate existing skills and knowledge. As it stands, they are asking divers to look upon all their previous diving, training and experience as a complete waste of time and money, throw it all away and start again.... that's a hard pill to swallow (and I'd humbly suggest, perhaps one of things that leads to the underserved AFAIC eletism tag).
     
  4. Gareth Burrows

    Gareth Burrows Super Moderator
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    it would be nice if they would recognise and accomodate existing skills and knowledge. As it stands, they are asking divers to look upon all their previous diving, training and experience as a complete waste of time and money, throw it all away and start again.... that's a hard pill to swallow (and I'd humbly suggest, perhaps one of things that leads to the underserved AFAIC eletism tag).
    [/quote]


    We're not asking anyone to throw out their existing knowledge, and we do recognise them. that's why there's the option to have an assessment with an instructor to see if you meet the required standard. Whether divers meet the required standard or not can hardly be GUE's fault. what has been found in the past is that it's simply easier and cheaper to teach people from scratch than pick apart their training and shore up the gaps. I know quite a bit about buoyancy, but I suspect BSAC would make me jump through the odd hurdle before allowing me to teach their buoyancy workshop. And rightly so. Whilst I know a lot about buoyancy, I don't know the details of how it should be taught etc. The devil is always in the details, and with GUE, the details all have to correct, so how exactly would we go abotu assessing whether or not someone has all the skills and knowledge to pass a fundamentals course - there's only one way - put them through a fundamentals course.
     
  5. bottlefish

    bottlefish Super dooper member
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    I'm not sure you've read my whole post Garf?

    My point is that very few (none?) people are going to pass that assessment if they haven't been through a GUE course, regardless of how good their in water skills were, as they wouldn't be aware of the GUE specific elements. So they're back to a full fundamentals, no matter how experienced and capable, or how close they are to the GUE benchmark....

    To use your BSAC analogy, of course they're going to check your skills before letting you teach, however you'd be pretty peeved if they expected you to enrol as a Novice diver and go all the way through the ranks?

    It would be nice to see a mid way step, audit the common inwater skills and then expand on/teach the GUE specific areas, I think a lot of divers would give it a go.
     
  6. Gareth Burrows

    Gareth Burrows Super Moderator
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    I did read your post, I just don't see where a half way house is necessary or beneficial.

    In order to be ready for tech1 or cave1 there is a very specific set of skills that need to be assessed and worked on. This is what the 4 day fundamentals course is for. The only way we can ensure people have a good chance of coming out of it ready to continue training is to do the four days.

    the alternative would be some kind of 2 day assessment,which I think its what it would take. Would you be happy to do a 2 day assessment to be told at the end "good news if you have 50% of the skills so you only need to have a couple of days coaching and then I'll sign you off", or even "I recommend you do the full course. You've now done between 4 and 6 days of training, so you haven't saved any time or money.

    Before you answer, remember that GUE usedto to exactly this - the fundamentals course used to be only 3 days and was more of an assessment than a course. However, we still hadn't solved the problem that too many people approached it assuming they had little to learn and ended up failing it. That's where the 4 day course came from.

    The problem here is perception. You are perceiving fundamentals as "going back to the bottom". I see it instead filling in the spaces in people's knowledge and skills. I gave a recreational pass to a rebreather instructor for another agency recently. He was cool about it because he recognised I'd have huge gaps in the skill set he teaches, so he had no difficulty recognising he had gaps in his own. Once you get past the idea that GUE is asking you to throw all your hard work away, everything becomes a lot easier.
     
  7. bottlefish

    bottlefish Super dooper member
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    That's exactly the point I'm trying to make!!! Fundies will be filling in less spaces for an experienced diver then brand new one, but they're still expected to pay the same money and invest the same amount of time, no credit is given for their experience (from their perspective, they are expected to start from scratch).

    Some areas are guaranteed to be brand new, some will be common amongst all the agencies, it would nice to see a cross over course structured to suit that learning need.... if a diver enrols but over estimates their ability, their problem!!
     
  8. Gareth Burrows

    Gareth Burrows Super Moderator
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    can you name a course for any agency where this isn't the case where the skills are not comparable.

    I found TDI advance dnitrox a real pain the ass becauseI did it too early, whereas the two guys on the course with me found it easy. We both paid the same and did the same course, even though one of the others had been diving a stage for a year. I found the PADI IDC ridiculously easy compared to some of the people on my course, but I didn't get a discount. no allowance was made fo rthe fact that I educate people during my professional career for some reason. I didn't get a discount on my AOW either, which was a waste of time, as I'd already done 20 dives, and yet someone else on the course thought it was amazing. My PADI Rescue diver couse on the other hand, I was learning from the moment we started, yet I talked to a guy who said he had learned nothing he didn't already know from his mates and the internet. Again, we both paid the same and did the same course. No allowance was made for the fact that he had mates who had done the course.
    ,
    My wife is an anesthetist, but i bet if she did MOD1, her rebreather instructor would make her pay the same as all the others, despite the fact that she would probably know more about CO2, O2 monitoring and scubber behaviour than anyone else on the course.

    none of these skills and knowledge are a replacement for training. If there was to be a crossover between UTD and GUE I'd probably support it (once I'd seen the details) because I know the procedures and skills are almost identical.
     
  9. bottlefish

    bottlefish Super dooper member
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    . Bottlefish please see PM!
     
  10. Gareth Burrows

    Gareth Burrows Super Moderator
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    I'm sure it reads as being defensive, but to be honest it's more frustration because you seem to be picking a hole in the system and stating this is why people are not doing it, without offering a tangible solution

    I'm open to options to be honest

    So far we've tried...

    1. Letting people straight onto the cave and Technical courses if they have "equivalent" qualifications
    1. Offering a short 3 day assessment of skills and knowledge to push people who are "nearly there" through
    2. Offering an in-water assessment to see if people can crossover

    None of the above have been successful so what's your solution, because the only other thing I can think of is a two day fundamentals - one day to check all the theory knowledge, and one day to check all the in-water stuff. You'd have no time to teach it so if any gaps were found they'd have to have coaching as a seperate excercise. The vast, vast majority of people would then end up having to have at least 1 day theory and 1 day water. so you;re back to 4 days!
     
  11. bottlefish

    bottlefish Super dooper member
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    I'd have to go through the GUE fundies course first before I could answer... perhaps I could offer you my consultancy free of charge in return for the course ;)

    Seriously, it's an oft voiced response, and I'm sure one you've heard many times before. I doubt there is an easy solution, but I do think that the current standard puts people off that may otherwise sign up.

    To make an analogy, I did my HSE commercial part IV a few years back, I was presented two options. The first involved going through a full four week diving programme, taking me from OW to DM, covering the commercial aspects, equipment, comms etc along the way.

    The second is a ten day course, audits the basic skills of the diver, to ensure that they could, actually, dive, and then bolstered their knowledge with the additional things they would have been unlikely to have taught, e.g ffm, comms, safety and standby diver, tethers etc etc.

    If you enrol on the second and fail the audit, then tough, your money has gone.

    At the time, I was an IDC Staff, TDI full trimix with 8 years diving... doing the full course was an investment of time and money that I couldn't justify or afford, the 2nd gave me a viable option.

    WRT GUE crossover, I'm sure there must be some way from seperating the core, common skills from the GUE specific ones. The sort of people I'm thinking about should be able to show you exemplary bouyancy and trim, propulsion, gas switching and stage management, general team awareness, kit configuration, shut downs etc etc etc (and I'm sure wouldn't need a three day audit to check!), but will have a big gap in their knowledge when it comes to GUE team signalling and awareness, GUE standard gases etc etc etc.

    Accept the things that they don't know and allow time to teach, explain the things that they are expected to know, and to what standard, and let them show you what they've got....
     
  12. Major Clanger

    Major Clanger P-Plated Meg Diver

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    That may be the optimum way, but it's not the GUE-DIR way :)
     
  13. Silty Bottom

    Silty Bottom in DIRnial

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    Face it Bottlefish, you're never gonna be a fundiementalist ;)
     
  14. Gareth Burrows

    Gareth Burrows Super Moderator
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    I am actually with you on that. I have a mate who could walk through the fundies skills tomorrow. However, experience suggests the people you describe are in a very small minority indeed. How do we change what we are doing to suit a very small minority when the vast majority still need to full course. I'm not having a pop here, I'm buggered if I have the answer :(
     
  15. bottlefish

    bottlefish Super dooper member
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    Yep, fair point. Now if I was a mercenary b'stard, I'd probably suggest running the audit as a chargeable front end, pass goes through to the rest of the crossover course, failure heads off for full fundies.... you may loose some on the way, but reckon you'd get a lot more giving it a go.... and for the most you'd be getting a five day course instead of a four day course :D
     
  16. big si

    big si Well-Known Member

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    im not taking sides but im in agreement with stuart on this one

    i know for sure that fundies couldnt teach me anything on boyancy and trim ect ect, but could on signalling, standard gases and probably solo diving (not to do it) maybe

    so for me i see it as a step backwards with a massive price tag attached
     
  17. Gareth Burrows

    Gareth Burrows Super Moderator
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    now that's an interesting idea, I'll pass it along![hr]
    Thats a dangerous attitude Si.

    I see a lot of divers, everyone from open water people to trimix instructor trainers. Many are sure they will learn little on fundies. I'ts invariably a different story afterwards.

    that's not arrogance. If I spent 4 days with you I'd learn stuff. to assume we can listen to an experienced diver of any background and not have anything to learn *is* arrogant.

    the day we honestly think we have nothing to learn about something is the day we have become overconfident.
     
  18. big si

    big si Well-Known Member

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    I'm not being over confident, as my response stated, I feel I could learn from certain aspects of the course. As I have developed certain core aspects of the Fundie's course this would be a waste of time and money for me to embark upon. Therefore this stops me from progressing into GUE as there is no way to cross over with relevant skills which you have already developed through many years of diving. There should be some way for a keen diver to do key elements of the course which are not currently adopted by the other diving organisations.
     
  19. Gareth Burrows

    Gareth Burrows Super Moderator
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    cool, what elements are you talking about, for clarity, because I think most of the course is not currently adopted by other diving organisations. thats precisely why any mechanism for crossover has proved difficult.
     
  20. Silty Bottom

    Silty Bottom in DIRnial

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    Now if I was cynical and out for a ruck I would suggest that if there is that much difference between GUE and every other technical diving agency in the world that none of the courses/skills learned can transfer over then isn't it possible that GUE are actually the ones not doing it right?

    But I'm not so I won't ;)
     

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