I thought PADI was the qualification everyone looks for?
Although in Cuba it was the ACUC which seemed widely accepted.
Eventually I would like to be qualified, confident and competent enough to go diving with a friend.
I realise that's way off, so for now would like a qualification that means something.
So when I dive with a club or on holiday I can get straight to it without the organisers of the dive trip feeling I'm holding them back and we can just get in the water and go.... if that makes sense.
My friend is going to be learning with me, so hopefully later down the line we can dive together.
It used to be the case that Padi was the most recognised certification but those days are past now fortunately. FWIW, if you want to learn in the UK, have a think about timescales and how you'd like to learn (formal set classes or more informal mentoring/coaching style for example) then go and visit your local clubs/shops and see how they fare meeting your requirements: are they open, welcoming etc or just try to push sales, or are just plain indifferent to you! There's some aspects that you won't be able to assess (as we don't know what we don't know) but if you join any club/shop group and they're cretins, you're not going to enjoy the course, so start with the basics! There's not one right way to learn and any decent training centre will get you were you want to go, but the journey is different and can be slow or faster, depending on your ability and inclination. PADI, SSI, BSAC, GUE etc. will all be recognised world-wide for sure, as will most of the smaller agencies like SAA, SDI, and so forth. The internet and ISO standards have made things a lot better for the that!
The views expressed are my own, worth what you've paid for them, are not on behalf of anyone else and not those of any company I work for etc.