Tradies can now apply for the "coolest job on earth" in Antarctica
Aussie scientists are calling on tradies from all walks of life to spend a season in the "world's coolest job".
The Australian Antarctic Program will hand-pick lucky "expeditioners" to spend either four to six months (over a summer season) or up to 12 months (over a winter season) in Antarctica or on Macquarie Island in 2024.
With 36 different roles needing to be filled, ranging from sparkies and chippies to camp chefs, tradies of all experience levels and backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
Salaries start anywhere between $70,000 to over $100,000 per year, depending on the role, and also include an 'Antarctica allowance' of $65,000.
Alongside free accommodation, meals and clothing, tradies will also access additional on-site training specific to the jobs on hand.
But with only 200 spots on offer, Australian Antarctic Division Organisational Psychologist Maree Riley said there is an extensive process behind recruiting the "right community-minded people" for the job.
"Teams live closely for months at a time...We recruit based both on a candidate's technical skills and their personal qualities," said Ms Riley.
"Our Antarctic research informs global policy on climate change and ecosystem management and the people who keep our stations running are a critical part of that effort."
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For Scott Newman, an electrician working in the Mawson station over the summer season, the small group of tradies and scientists stationed with him have become "one big family".
"I love living and working at Mawson. We are all one big family all 19 of us living in the red shed, all trades working together and helping each other to get the job done," said Newman.
"We even get to help with science, taking photos of penguin colonies for counting and assisting with the maintenance of the penguin cameras.
"After work, we all play pool and darts up at the bar or head out onto the sea ice for a round of golf. We also get to go on recreation trips out into the field and visit the mountains and frozen lakes up on the Plateau behind the station.
"I have really enjoyed my time on station and will be back for another season."
Preparation for the trip isn't for the faint-hearted, involving several months of screenings, high-risk safety courses and job-specific training.
But according to Canberra carpenter Connor Gordon, the Antarctic experience is well worth the wait.
"I spent several months in Hobart doing high-risk construction courses, inductions, etc. Now that I have arrived at Casey Station, I feel extremely confident in my ability to perform my role to the best of my abilities," said Connor.
"I'm also incredibly excited to get out in the field for survival and field travel training and, most of all, to see all of the penguins! I've already seen some Adelies in my first week here, and they are the cutest little creatures.
"Well worth the trip down if you ask me. All in all, I highly recommend applying, whether it is for a single season or the start of many.
"With the amount of training and experience you receive, and the additional allowances you earn while working in Antarctica, the world is your oyster when you return home. For me, that means travelling, before returning to Antarctica for another season."
For plant operator Tom Gersbach, who spent most of the last year building and maintaining the ice runway used to transport the crew, the job is a "once in a lifetime opportunity.
"In a professional sense I got a lot of pride and feeling of achievement through some of the big milestones we hit this season, such as building our snow runway in record time due to heavy snowfalls affecting the normal operational build period," he said.
"My advice for anyone thinking of working in Antarctica - do it!
"Bring an open mind and make sure you jump on all the opportunities you have to go out and see and do things you'll never get a chance to do anywhere else.
Applications to join the Australian Antarctic Program close on January 1st, 2024.