x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Lloyds TBS banker has another trade in stock

Steve Woods is a man used to pressure, in the week a senior procurement manager for Lloyds TSB and by weekend a scuba diving instructor.

Steve Wood, who works as a senior procurement manager for Lloyds TSB, runs diving courses at weekends.
Steve Wood, who works as a senior procurement manager for Lloyds TSB, runs diving courses at weekends.

Steve Wood, known as "Scuba Steve" to some, works as a senior procurement manager for Lloyds TSB during the week and runs diving courses at weekends. He explains how working weekends keeps him buoyant on a Monday morning.

How do you deal with the seven-day week?

I don't work every weekend as a diving instructor, probably three out of four, and some evenings in the week. You have to take some time off.

Still, that is a lot of work.

I enjoy working in the business world. I've worked for a number of financial institutions for 20 years. In the week you are using your brain a lot more and diving is a different type of work. It is more physical and it is a nice way to switch off from the bank. Being a diving instructor certainly doesn't feel like work.

Do you often feel tired for work at the bank?

If I work on the weekend I'm up at 6am with students both Friday and Saturday mornings. By the end of Saturday evening I will crash out on the couch and order a take-away. I'll be lucky if I make it to half-time in a Premier League football match on my TV.

So Mondays are hard?

Not really. I usually go in feeling fresh because I've done something constructive with my weekend. Colleagues know when I've been diving because I have a nice tan - sadly, only around my face and neck where the wetsuit does not cover.

If you love diving so much, why not take the plunge and be a full-time dive instructor?

If you teach diving all the time you can lose the love for it. Diving becomes what you have to do to earn money. I also still enjoy putting to use my marketing and business skills in the week. I'm really passionate and interested in teaching people how to dive, so it is the perfect marriage.

I suppose it is a bonus that you get paid?

Yes, it is good if the perfect marriage also pays. I'm an independent instructor but I'm affiliated to Al Boom Diving. They help with administration, teaching materials and equipment and take a 50 per cent cut of the price I charge.

How did you become involved with Al Boom?

I'm originally from the UK. I went travelling five years ago for a year and met a friend … who lived in Dubai. I asked about jobs at Lloyds TSB, found a position and then immediately asked about jobs at Al Boom. I've now been teaching in the country for four years.

How else does your side job improve your life?

I earn between Dh3,000 (US$816) and Dh4,000 a month, which helps pay for my own kit, like a new dive watch. Or it helps towards holidays and my own dive trips. I could never be able to be a full-time dive instructor and earn the same as I do in the bank.

rjones@thenational.ae