Padi Course Director Oliver Benndorff – Gozo, Malta
Looking for somewhere to take your IDC, why not take it with us at DiveSMART Gozo in Dwejra, Gozo? We offer a fun and enjoyable experience with proven quality training.
Why should you do YOUR IDC in Gozo?
He started his training in the German Navy in 1982, and then became a PADI Instructor in 1989.
Oliver has logged dives in German lakes and seas, Austria, Italy, Netherlands, Denmark, France, Spain, Yugoslavia, Kenya, Tanzania, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Turkey, Malta and Gozo, Sri Lanka, The Maldives, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Sipadan and is still actively scuba diving and teaching.
Oliver is also a PADI Instructor Trainer for more than 24 Specialties, an Emergency First Response Instructor Trainer having certified and team taught over 2000 plus PADI Certifications at all levels.
Throughout his career, he has gained valuable experience and a wealth of knowledge which he is waiting to pass on to you, through the very best quality education and introduction into the PADI Professional diving industry.
All IDC candidates to date have received a 100% first time IE pass rating.
- Staff of 3, including 1 Padi Master Instructor
- Teaches IDCs in Gozo
- 5 IDCs prior to IEs per year
- IDCs can be held at any time that’s convenient for the student
- Over 30,000 logged dives
- 34 years diving experience
- 2000 + PADI Certifications
- Over 24 PADI Instructor Trainer Specialties
- 100% First time IE success rate
The Island of Gozo is an ideal location in which to do your IDC with it being situated less than a 3-hour flight from most European airports. The water temperature varies between 28 degrees Centigrade in the summer and 15 degrees Centigrade in winter time.
About PADI Course Director – Oliver Benndorff
As far back as I can remember, I wanted to dive like Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau. He was my childhood idol and my inspiration. I did my first dive with an Italian fisherman during a family holiday in Italy. After that experience I was hooked, and new then, that this is what I want to do as a professional.
In the 1970’s it was difficult to become a certified diver as a child, no one was teaching children then. So, as soon as I turned 18, I joined the German Navy and became a fully qualified diver. I spent 8 years diving for the German Navy in a wide variety of adventures.
In 1989 I went to Cannes la Bocca in France, there I did my PADI IDC and became a qualified PADI Open Water Instructor.
In 1990 I went for 3 years to Kenya, working and teaching as a PADI Instructor at the famous Diani Beach. In 1994 I left Diani Beach and relocated to Malta. I stayed and taught in Gozo for 12 years, later in 2000 I became a PADI Course Director. I have travelled to many countries since then, teaching and diving in places like Thailand, Borneo, Dominican Republic, Bali, Sipadan and 4 ½ years on the Maldives. In 2008 I returned to the Island of Gozo.
Becoming a Dive Professional is a Life Changing Experience and it can take you to places you only dreamt of. It is a life transformer, it offers you a New Life Style and heaps of opportunity, waiting to be grasped. Imagine a job where you go to work in your shorts, a bikini and flip flops! So, there is no wonder “I LOVE MY JOB”
What is Olivers philosophy?
To offer friendly, yet professional services to students completing courses at all levels, and divers visiting the wonderfull sites of Gozo and Malta. The IDC is not just about passing the exam, it is about becoming fully prepared, competent and confident to teach at the end of it. We always keep our groups small and this includes the IDC. My partner is a PADI Master Instructor, Janet is always around to help, hands on with all aspects of the IDC, IE and specialties.
What is the reason Divemasters should take their IDC with you?
I still regularly teach all courses, including those at beginner and basic levels. I find this is very important as I think “how can I teach Instructor candidates to teach all courses if I don’t teach them myself?” Being resident in Gozo all year round, I am able to teach an IDC or specialties at a time that is convenient for the student. They then have the option of completing the IE in Gozo, or at a location of their choice. Although I have a Master Instructor and Staff Instructors to assist during the course, I am always on site and available at any time. During your IE in Gozo or Malta, you will be assisted from start to finish, making it easier for you to concentrate on the important things. We will take you to the exam room, pool/confined water and the open water site, make sure you have everything you need to succeed, and even bring your lunch. I feel that Instructors should learn to teach the specialties through a Course Director, as it gives them a greater insight into the skills and abilities needed to teach their own students. For this reason, I offer a package of up to 22 instructor specialties after the IDC. During the specialties, I try to go to all the best and appropriate sites that Gozo, Comino and Malta have to offer. The dive centre is in a busy tourist area in the heart of Dwejra. The accommodation is reasonable, the bars and restaurants are plentifull on the Island, so you don’t have far to go to get a meal after a busy day on the IDC.
My job doesn’t finish when you pass your IE, if you have any questions in the future or need advice, I will be happy to help. As diving is perceived to be a male dominated sport, I would like to prove otherwise by bringing along a female Master Instructor. Female candidates are just as welcome as male candidates. During the IDC there is a lot of laughter and banter, it is quite good fun. I hope the above alleviates some of the stress that candidates put on themselves.
What are the facilities like?
DiveSMART is a purpose-built dive centre, located at street level. We have a designated wet area to wash and store your equipment. The classrooms are large, will keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. A large TV connected to a laptop will let you view all the multimedia PADI has got to offer. The classroom has tiled flooring with cupboards and a large table. Tea, coffee, water and cakes are free and plentiful throughout the IDC. At least one confined and open water session during the IDC will be held at the same location as the IE, so there will be no surprises on the BIG day.
What types of diving do you like the best?
I enjoy all types of diving, but I do particularly like the caverns, holes, caves and swim throughs, which are found in abundance here on the Island of Gozo and Comino.
What else do you like (non-diving)?
After working a six or seven day a week there is not much time left for anything else. When possible, I like to go for long walks along the cliffs around Dwejra and Sannat.
Why do you love being a PADI Course Director?
Being a Course Director enables me to pass on the knowledge I have gained over the last 30 years to new Instructors. I also enjoy meeting people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds who love diving, and are excited about their future as a diving instructor.
What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully lots more diving and teaching. Making our new dive centre grow and improve as we go along.
What do his students think of Oliver?
Reg Miller, May 2016
Didn’t plan an IDC on Gozo just after my DM in the UK, so was a little unsure. Meeting Oliver and Janet changed that, the IDC was very well organised, challenging and fun. I felt taken care of all the way. The most challenging PADI course I’ve done to date but very rewarding. They’re great people. ER Miller
From Neil Meston PADI MI 648853 – As a student diver Oliver always has his pupil’s best interests at heart and I was no exception from when he taught me to dive some years ago, and this continued all the way through to when he attended my Instructor Examination in Malta several years later.