Job in Antarctica ...?

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 kmsands 18 Jan 2021

I noticed this job ad on the British Antarctic Survey website: 

https://www.bas.ac.uk/jobs/vacancy/field-guide-antarctica/

Looks like a seriously interesting job for those with the right sort of alpine / expedition experience.

 Jim Lancs 18 Jan 2021
In reply to kmsands:

Everyone I know who has been south as a field guide has rated it as the best time ever. Some went on to do season after season including some winters.

Some trips out onto the ice are weeks long with just you and your scientist. The older ex-BAS guides may say it's never been the same since the dogs left / you had to go both ways on the ships / Amundsen got there first, etc, but everyone else still loves it.

If you're interested in 'gear', it's great to get to use stuff that's designed for really specific requirements and has been 'refined' (if that's the right expression) through experience for 100 years. If you prefer stuff that's fashion driven and in the latest colour, then . . .

 kmsands 18 Jan 2021
In reply to Jim Lancs:

Cheers for that! I should clarify (as I'm just a middle-aged and inexperienced indoor boulderer / occasional rock climber) it's definitely not something I could do. Just saw the ad and thought there must be people on here who would fancy doing that, and would be qualified for it. 

A few other jobs on their site for Antarctic-based chefs / mechanics / electricians / radio operators as well - must give some opportunities for adventures on the side. Living in Cambridge I've met a few BAS people and I always feel envious

 crayefish 18 Jan 2021
In reply to kmsands:

Dream job   I had considered it after uni.

Well, as I find out tomorrow whether I'm caught in our latest firing round (4th in 3 years), maybe I'll be applying  :D

In reply to kmsands:

Do they still do the allowance for ladies clothing?

 Toby_W 18 Jan 2021
In reply to Jim Lancs:

A friend of mine did the guide bit and had an amazing time as did one of my engineering students who looked after their rf gear and weather radar.

Cheers

Toby

 Pedro50 18 Jan 2021
In reply to kmsands:

A few climbers have been, John Cunningham and Mark Vallance spring to mind. Sounds brilliant. 

 wintertree 18 Jan 2021
In reply to kmsands:

I love the new BAS base, maximum Gerry Anderson.

I was watching the video feeds of the SpaceX site yesterday as they prep for the next flight test.  I wonder when the first adverts for Martian field guides will go out, and what experience they’ll be after?

In reply to kmsands:

I applied once, which was a bit silly. From what I remember you'd really need to be a proper mountain guide with mechanic/engineering experience. 

 crayefish 18 Jan 2021
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

Only silly if you realised you left the oven on while out there...

 Pedro50 18 Jan 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> I love the new BAS base, maximum Gerry Anderson.

> I was watching the video feeds of the SpaceX site yesterday as they prep for the next flight test.  I wonder when the first adverts for Martian field guides will go out, and what experience they’ll be after?

Perhaps a Venetian gondolia.

In reply to crayefish:

Nah, these days you can just tweet via satellite to tell your smart speaker to turn down the iOven

 ianstevens 18 Jan 2021
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

Yeah this. I’ve got alpine experience, including taking my mates out, and hold an ML/SPA alongside a PhD in glaciology - didn’t even get an interview. Standard is reasonable on the mountaineering side of things, I’d guess they get enough MICs apply they can recruit almost entirely at that level.

 mike barnard 19 Jan 2021
In reply to ianstevens:

Maybe just strong competition at the time? I've known folk who've gone without any previous guiding experience (that I know of).

 girlymonkey 19 Jan 2021
In reply to kmsands:

My brother in law is out there now as a mechanic for his second time 🙂

 ianstevens 19 Jan 2021
In reply to mike barnard:

Maybe. To be clear it wasn’t a moan - just a highlight of my perception that you probably need to have some of the higher level guiding tickets because others applying will have them, regardless of what the advert says. Especially this year. 

 Tobes 19 Jan 2021
In reply to kmsands:

Good opportunity to find a new partner too ; ) of the 4 people I know who have been, all have either broken up with long term partners and/or come back with a different one!

Personality goes a long way in the soft skills criteria - you’re out there for months with the same people, no escape!

In the Antarctic ‘no one can hear you scream!’ 

But none of them regret a thing and loved ‘almost’ every minute of it 

 steve_gibbs 19 Jan 2021
In reply to kmsands:

I worked out at Rothera as an Electronics Engineer. 

It's worth noting there's a massive disparity in how competitive the differing job roles are. It's not uncommon for BAS to get around 2,000 applications for just four Field Guide positions. They're more interested in your attitude and who you are as a person, than having an MIA/MIC, etc. Some of the fieldies have no formal Mountain Training qualifications, but all have done a fair few Alpine summers, ideally with the odd trip to Kyrgyzstan, or the Greater Ranges, or time in Svalbard, etc. As Jim Carey says; "The effect you have on others is the greatest currency there is". You can have Scottish Winter routes coming out of your eyeballs, but if you can't get along with other humans, they won't employ you.

All the dive team and biologist positions are similarly competitive. You gotta compete with many hundreds of people to spend a year scuba-diving with humpbacks, studying penguins, seals, or albatrosses!

The Tech Services positions are typically less competitive, so if you're a qualified Plumber, Electrician, Generator Mechanic, Vehicle Mechanic or Vehicle Operator, you're in with a much better chance. Apparently the Gennie Mech position is the hardest to fill; they get circa 1-2 people apply a year! Qualified chefs are in with a good chance too, but it's a tough job!

In terms of the experience, it's mostly incredible, but as everyone says, it's a bit of an emotional rollercoaster; the highs are so high and the lows so low, but all is glorious in retrospect. Whatever you do, don't go out there if you're in a meaningful relationship; it simply won't last. Antarctica is like Big Brother on steroids, but an experience that lasts a lifetime.


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