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Sick of summer? 150 jobs open in Antarctica

Tony Yoo
Mechanic Amy Chetcuti just returned from Mawson and Davis research stations. (Images: Australian Antarctic Division)
Mechanic Amy Chetcuti has just returned from Mawson and Davis research stations. (Images: Australian Antarctic Division)

An Australian government agency is seeking adventurous job seekers who want to work in Antarctica next summer.

The Australian Antarctic Division put out the call for workers this week, with 150 positions to be filled for the 2020-21 season.

"There are so many good things about living and working in Antarctica and it really is the experience of a lifetime," said mechanic Amy Checuti, who has just returned from Antarctica.

"It’s about so much more than just a job – to see animals in their natural habitat and to become part of that and there is also an amazing sense of community on station, you become one little family."

Many of the job advertisements are for tradespeople who keep Australia's four research stations operating. This includes plumbers, electricians, carpenters, fitter & turners, welders and specialist mechanics.

Other positions include chefs, engineers, medics and station leaders.

The successful candidates, known as "expeditioners", will be paid an "Antarctic allowance" in addition to their normal government pay. All accommodation, food and cold-weather gear is provided.

The isolated locations mean all the residents at some time perform duties outside of their usual job descriptions.

"I definitely came home with a lot more skills than I went down with, and not just skills within my trade, but in things like hydroponic vegetables and helping out in the kitchen as well as helping other trades," Checuti said.

The more hospitable summer months see each of the stations – Mawson, Davis and Casey and Macquarie Island in the sub-Antarctic – host up to 100 workers.

The winter population plunges to about 20 at each location, when daily high temperatures hover around -14 degrees, nightly lows can hit -40 and constant darkness dominates.

The vacancies thus range from four months over the summer or up to 15 months that go over winter and two summers.

"We’re looking for people with the skills to do the job and who will be a good fit for life in a small and isolated community," said Australian Antarctic Division human resources manager Andrew Groom.

"Applicants will first undergo an assessment of their technical skills and experience and they are then put through one of our selection centres to ensure they will be a good fit for the small Antarctic community."

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