Want to Work in Antarctica?
Working in Antarctica would have to be one of the best ways to see and experience the frozen continent. Not only do you get to see the amazing transformation as you head south from a temperate climate to a completely different landscape of frozen water, snow, bare rock amazing diverse wildlife, huge icebergs and awesome Auroras, but you also get to experience the full seasonal cycle of a year if you decide to “Winter” in Antarctica.
Australia has claim to four bases around Antarctica and Sub-Antarctica. Three of the bases are on the eastern Antarctic Continent Coast on Wilkes Land – Casey Station, Princess Elizabeth Land – Davis Station and Mac Robertson Land – Mawson Station.
There is also a fourth station on the Sub-Antarctic island – Macquarie Island Station.
What to Expect
The three stations on the continent are very similar in structure and facilities but each have their own subtle differences including the landscape they are located on. Macquarie Island station is quite different in that it is a Sub-Antarctic island which is out of the bitter cold sub zero temperatures experienced in Antarctica, however it is wet and averages around 5 deg C year round with a few sub zero snaps in the southern hemisphere winter.
In Australia the Australian Antarctic Division operate as part of the Australian Government Department of Environment. The stations are all very well appointed with the latest in Technology for everyday living. The stations are largeley self sufficient year round with no physical contact with the outside world for 8 months or so when there is no transportation available to the Antarctic continent stations due to the Ice conditions surrounding the stations.
I can only speak from experience about the Australian Antarctic working experience, however I do beleive from what I have heard that the other stations from other countries the working expeience is much the same.
If you are prepared to be away from home and your comfort zone for 12 months or more in one hit then a wintering job may be for you. There are also summer season jobs which can vary from a couple of months up to six months in duration.
How do you get to Work in Antarctica?
There are no trains or busses that go to Antarctica, nor is driving your car a remote posibility, however there are Ships and Aeroplanes that travel to Antarctica. The Ships are mostly Ice Breakers but also Ice strengthened Ships are used for large cargo capacity. Aeroplanes are used but not in a large capacity. See the post Transport in Antarctica for more info on Transportation
What Jobs are available in Antarctica?
Most of the summer jobs consist of construction, logistics, science support and communications operators. Their primary roles are to do any major building or infrastructure upgrades to the station while the weather is relatively kind, and to support the major re-supply and RTA (return to Australia) of the stations supply and waste needs.
The wintering jobs in Antarctica consist mainly of backbone support staff including Station Manager, Doctor, Trades and Telecommunication experts. Their primary role is to look after and maintain the station deploying some infrastructure upgrades and general maintenance so when the scientists arrive for the summer period they can get on with their research and know everything will be honky dory!
There are a large number of trades and proffesions which are required by the Antarctic stations and Logistics/Transport. The requirements can change from season to season, however the wintering positions do have a core requirement which usually consists of:
- Station Leader/Manager
- Telecommunications Officers
- Bureau of Meteorology Techs and Observers
- Carpenters/Building Maintenance.
Jobs in Antarctica will start to appear soon for the 2015/2016 intake as the selection process and fore-training can be quite a lengthy process. The best place to keep a track of Jobs in Antactica for the Australian Antarctic Division is on their website:
© 2014, Haich. All rights reserved.