Thursday, 12 February 2009

Getting away from it all

The recession must be biting hard. The British Antarctic Survey's website buckled today under the weight of interest in its new recruitment campaign for chefs, electricians and plumbers on the planet's coldest continent - Antarctica.

James Clark Ross at Vernadsky

Wait for me! The British Antarctic Survey employs more than just scientists - chefs, plumbers and electricians support the research community.

Amid the doom and gloom of financial crises and redundancies, the news has attracted much media interest.

An electrician already working at the survey's Rothera base on the Antarctic Peninsula, Tony McLaughlan, told the Cambridge News, 'It is really amazing being here. I never imagined that an ordinary bloke like me could end up working in Antarctica.'

'The people are great, the work is exciting. If anyone is wondering about applying for this kind of job I would say just do it,' he told GMTV.

He explained to John Humphrys on the BBC's Today programme what drove him to apply, 'The challenge. This has to be one of the extreme and toughest environments in the world.'

'It's not that cold at the moment - it's zero degrees. Last season it got down to -22,' he added.

But it is not as lonely as some people imagine. 'There are 60 to 70 people on base right now. At its peak it can be up to 100.'

Head of communications, Linda Capper, MBE, said, 'The thing that is most striking is the stunning scenery. You feel very small. You find yourself in this gigantic landscape where the horizon is a long way off and you can see icebergs the size of cathedrals. There are penguins and seals - it is just sensational.'

Contracts run from four to 18 months and salaries start at £23,000 a year. Accommodation, travel, clothing and food are provided.

Source: Planet Earth (NERC)

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