Richie, the tile counter certificate is only a few days, the problem being when the dive centre you attend has pool time etc.
Your best bet is to go and talk to the guys at the shops, see how it will fit round your work, it's probably only about 3 pool sessions and a couple of dips in the sea, but if they only have one session in a pool a week it make take 5 weeks, ( they used to do 1 week courses though ) you could easily have your cert by your holidays, getting the plastic card is easy, it's the experience that makes you. Ask Alain next time you see him, he's been diving in the marina.
You could always take the course whilst out in Cyprus, that would give you three days of peace and quiet
but I bet it wouldn't go down well with the other half.