Tradies vie for jobs in world’s coolest COVID-free spot

 

It's the one place on Earth that remains free of coronavirus and Aussies struggling to find work could soon be plying their trade in one of the coolest places on the planet.

Antarctica is now hiring tradies to fill a string of vacancies on the frozen continent.

The Australian Antarctic Program is searching for a new group of skilled, resilient and flexible tradespeople to become Antarctic expeditioners for the 2021-22 season.

Electricians, diesel mechanics and plumbers are among those required to help keep Australia's research stations at Casey, Davis, Mawson and Macquarie Island running.

 

Mawson expeditioners at work in the field. Picture: Mark Horstman/AAD
Mawson expeditioners at work in the field. Picture: Mark Horstman/AAD

 

The AAP needs to fill 25 different positions across all four stations, with the jobs described by Human Resources manager Maree Riley as "a rare chance" to be part of the unique program.

"We place great importance in ensuring we select the right people," Ms Riley said.

"As well as being technically competent, we need people who can live and work together harmoniously in often harsh and inhospitable conditions."

The tradie expeditioners are paid an allowance to compensate for living in such a remote location, but Ms Riley said it was "not the money" that attracted people to apply. "It's the experience," she said.

Wilkins Aerodrome manager Matt Ryan recently returned from his fifth Antarctic winter, where his team built a 3km-long runway on top of a glacier about 70km inland from Casey research station.

 

Expeditioners surrounded by Emperor Penguins: Michael Brill/AAD
Expeditioners surrounded by Emperor Penguins: Michael Brill/AAD

 

"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," he said.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley, who oversees Australia's activity in Antarctica, said the new jobs were an "incredible opportunity" for tradespeople to apply their skills in "one of the most breathtaking places on Earth".

"If you're a tradie looking for adventure and the chance to work in a dynamic team in places you've never dreamed of, this is it," Ms Ley said.

"Electricians could be working deep inland on the ice plateau fixing an automatic weather station, a carpenter could monitor penguins, a plumber could be trained to help the station doctor with anaesthetics in case of a medical emergency."

 

Expeditioners in Antarctica undertaking field training. Picture: Kyle Williams/AAD
Expeditioners in Antarctica undertaking field training. Picture: Kyle Williams/AAD

 

Ms Ley said those chosen to work on Australia's Antarctic research stations are selected for their "skills and adaptability".

"I would encourage people qualified in everything from diesel mechanics to communications technology to apply for 25 different roles across all of Australia's four research stations," she said.

 

Originally published as Tradies vie for jobs in world's coolest COVID-free spot


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