Referral TrainingReferral Learn To Dive programs are a way to get your open water license in two parts. Basically you can start your course at home with a school in your own area and do all the early training and theory in your own time. Once you have that part out of the way the school gives you what the industry call "referral papers", and you bring them with you. You then join a school in Australia and they complete your open water certification.
For example - you live in the U.K and you are keen to learn to dive. The thought of cold English water puts you right off the thought. So you go to a scuba school in your area and sign up. They teach you the basics, the only water you need to plunge into is a heated pool, and then finally you sit your exams. They then give you your papers and you head to warm sunny Queensland, get on board a beautiful boat and head out to reef for 3 days.
Whilst out there you do four training dives, which completes your qualification, and then you also get an extra 5 recreational dives to just simply enjoy. This is a better option for those pressed for time.
You can, of course, join at different stages and levels as long as your Referral Papers are correct, and you are medically fit to Australian Standards.
Two quick words of warning - be careful when choosing your school at home making sure that they teach you under an internationally recognised instruction program, and remember that in the long run it will cost a little more doing it this way as you are paying two schools, not one.