Page last updated at 14:05 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Antarctic job market heating up

A line of Gentoo penguins in Antarctica
The BAS hopes to encourage tradespeople to leave the rat race behind.

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has launched a recruitment drive to find tradespeople to work at its research centre in Antarctica.

The organisation is looking for around 40 carpenters, electricians, plumbers, chefs and technicians.

"It's an opportunity of a lifetime. As well as the scenery you are supporting science," said Athena Dinar of the BAS.

Successful applicants will earn around 23,000 with free travel, accommodation, food and clothing.

'More money'

Engineer William Ray spends two months each summer working at the base.

He told the BBC's Breakfast programme: "It's fantastic: beautiful scenery, great wildlife, it's everything you'd imagine."

The contracts range from four to 18 months

The salaries offered may not compare favourably to wages for similar jobs in the UK, but with a distinct lack of opportunities to spend their income, new recruits could well end up better off.

"We know that probably can't compete with what tradespeople can get in the UK," said personnel officer James Miller.

"But, of course, your accommodation is included, all your food's included and all your clothing's included. So, you get to see a lot more of that money when you get back."

Up to 100 people operate from the base in Antarctica at any one time, conducting research into climate change and biodiversity - work which recruits will support.

Contracts will run from four to 18 months.

With the UK's employment market distinctly chilly, the BAS hopes that even the -30C Antarctic conditions will prove attractive.



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