Two young Caymanians were recently awarded scholarships to pursue training and possible careers in the dive industry.
Shaun Jackson and Kameron D’Hue were both honoured during the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame induction ceremony with the promise of support to train as divemasters.
The scholarship is organised by Suzy Soto and Red Sail Sports operation manager Rod McDowall. McDowall said other dive operators are becoming involved in supporting the programme.
Soto, the widow of Hall of Fame member Bob Soto, said the scholarship, launched last year, is meant to assist a single student. But both this year and last, the top two candidates were both deemed worthy of support, she said.
Last year’s winners, Rickeem Lashley, who is now working at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute, and Joshua Weaver, who is still in school, presented medals to Jackson and D’Hue.
Jackson, the great grandson of Will Jackson, a long-time seaman from East End, wants to open a dive shop in Bodden Town. D’Hue’s great grandfather was famous turtler Andrew Powery. He is interested in pursuing a career in diving.
McDowell said becoming a divemaster generally takes about 100 hours of training and would cost about $5,000.
He said the idea of the scholarship is “to get young Caymanians back into the field. The industry was formed by Caymanians, look at the people Bob Soto trained in those early years”.
But many of those early leaders moved to the business side, he said, and the pipeline dried up.
The scholarship is designed to “turn that enthusiasm and love of diving into a career”, he added.