STEM grads wanted for Antarctica-based roles

work in antarctica
The Australian Antarctic Program is searching for extra mechanics and communications technicians ready to take on the opportunity of a lifetime. Image: John Burgess

The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) is currently recruiting numerous mechanic and communications tech-based professionals for their 2022 to 2023 season

After the wet summer we just had, packing up and moving to Antarctica might not seem like such a crazy idea. In fact by the looks of the job opportunities currently advertised it could be a smart career move.

What types of jobs are being advertised?

Alongside core roles in research and station support, the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) is on the hunt for talented graduates fluent in STEM for their 2022 to 2023 summer season.

Among their list of publicised STEM-heavy roles are a:

  • Communications Technical Officer
  • Senior Communications Technical Officer
  • Station Mechanical Supervisor
  • Mechanic
  • Station Support Officer

AAD Organisational Psychologist, Maree Riley stresses that trained mechanics are in particularly high demand, to support projects such as the inland traverse for the Million Year Ice Core.

“This is a great opportunity for specialised mechanics to support Australia’s science and research efforts in Antarctica,” she says. “Our workshops deal with everything from Hägglunds all-terrain vehicles to traverse tractors responsible for pulling mobile stations deep into the Antarctic continent.”

Additional communications technical officer gigs for grads with experience across radio and satellite technologies are also being advertised too.

“Communications are critical to everything we do down south, and as a communications technical officer one of your key responsibilities is maintaining the vital communications link between expeditioners and home,” Maree says.

What qualifications are needed?

According to the AAD. the key qualities for any Antarctica-based expeditioners include versatility, proactivity, community-mindedness and flexibility!

“No two days are alike in Antarctica! One day you might be on the station, the next you could be maintaining infrastructure in the field,” says Maree.

Despite there being no real roads on the continent applicants must hold a current driver’s licence, and be prepared to take on additional non IT-related tasks such as kitchen duties, garbage clearance and snow removal.

More prerequisites here.

How much do they pay?

Quit a lot! IT workers in Antarctica for instance can expect to earn the standard Australian Systems Administrator salary of around $75,000 per annum plus an extra $60,000 worth of additional allowances. Yep, just for hanging out in the cold.

What’s it like to work in Antartica?

Expedition mechanic Amy Chetcuti has spent the last few years fixing and maintaining machinery at Mawson and Davis research stations and confirms that it’s definitely a one-of-a-kind work environment.

“You won’t find a job like it anywhere else in the world,” she says. “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.”

Mechanic Amy Chetcuti, has just returned from Mawson and Davis research stations. Image: Australian Antarctic Division.

Despite doing the nine-to-five thing Amy stresses that there are loads of opportunities to check out animals and scenery – and socialise too.

“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.”

How do I apply?

Kickstart the application process by uploading your CV, driver’s licence and tertiary qualification documents, filling out your contact details and then answering an epic questionnaire.

Applications close July 2022.


Cassie Steel

Author: Cassie Steel

As Refraction’s digital editor, Cassie Steel spends her days researching robots and stalking famous scientists on Twitter.


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