“It’s an amazing opportunity and such a unique experience to live and work on an Antarctic station, somewhere few people have the opportunity to even visit,” she said.
“Our expeditioners are essential to support the vital science work of the Australian Antarctic Program and maintain Australia’s research stations.”
“The Australian Antarctic Division is fully committed to its pursuit of gender equality and diversity across all aspects of the AAP. In particular, we have a strong focus on increasing women in the AAP especially across STEM and the broader range of trade roles that we offer,” Ms Riley said.
The skills needed include station support, telecommunications, infrastructure, aviation, science, mechanical and medical. Contracts vary according to the position and season but usually run between four and 15 months.
“We place great importance in ensuring we select the right people. As well as being technically competent, we need people who can live and work together harmoniously in often harsh and inhospitable conditions,” said Ms Riley.
Wilkins Aerodrome Manager Matt Ryan recently returned from building a three-kilometre blue-ice runway atop a glacier, 70 kilometres inland from Casey research station.
He and his tight-knit team of four battled wind gusts of more than 200 kilometres an hour, temperatures of below minus 30, and frequent blizzards to ‘wake up’ the Aerodrome from its winter hibernation.
“My team has done a fantastic job,” Matt said, ahead of the first flight of the current season bringing new expeditioners into Casey research station. He’s just completed his fifth Antarctic winter.
“I’ve been doing this long enough to know I should know better, but also just enough time to realise how lucky I am and that no two Antarctic experiences are the same.”
All expeditioners are paid an allowance to compensate for living in such a remote, isolated environment, but Ms Riley said money isn’t the driving factor for most applicants.
“It’s not the money that attracts people to Antarctica, it’s the experience,” she said.
“Our expeditioners talk about the new skills and experiences they gain from their time on station, the friendships they make, and the personal and professional growth they experience in this environment.”
The full range of jobs available is:
Plumber, Electrician/Instrument Electrician, Carpenter, Boilermaker Welder, Fitter and Turner, Refrigeration Mechanic, Mechanical Services (HVAC) Balancing Technician, Building Services Supervisor, Engineering Services Supervisor, Expedition Mechanic, Station Mechanical Supervisor, Plant Operator, Communications Operator, Communications Rigger, Information Technology Officer, Station Communications Technical Officer, Electronics Engineer, Field Training Officer, Station Supply Officer, Station Leader, Antarctic Medical Practitioner, Aerodrome Plant Operator, Aircraft Ground Support Officer, Wilkins Aerodrome Deputy Manager & Manager.
Applications close on 21 January 2021. Visit jobs.antarctica.gov.au for more information.
Things to note when applying:
- Read up on what the job involves. It will be challenging. Make sure you’re aware of what it’s like to live and work in Antarctica so you can make an informed decision;
- Talk with your family and friends to make sure they’re supportive of you being away for an extended period of time;
- The AAD is looking for adaptability, flexibility and resilience in its expeditioners, and people who are team players;
- The AAD is recruiting candidates for the 2021–22 summer and winter seasons (commencing at the end of 2021);
- You must be an Australian or New Zealand citizen or an Australian resident with a valid visa including working rights in Australia. There may be additional eligibility criteria;
- The recruitment campaign is open from 9th December 2020 to 21st January, 2021.