Wanted: a plumber for Antarctica

September 8th, 2008 - 11:19 am ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 8 (IANS) Are you a plumber looking for a temporary job change? There’s one ready for you, but only if you can put up with penguins and icy climes.The job criteria are what have catapulted an otherwise routine advertisement for a plumber to the editorial sections of British newspapers like The Independent.

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is looking for a plumber to work at its Bird Island Research Station, 650 miles south of the Falklands. To be precise, in Antarctica.

The posts run for five to 18 months. Duties include mechanical and electrical upkeep, repair and support to scientists studying penguins, seals and albatrosses.

The “office” is situated on an island three miles long and half a mile wide, home to 65,000 Antarctic fur seals, 50,000 macaroni penguins and 26,000 albatrosses. It off the north-west tip of South Georgia and in winter months temperatures can drop to minus 20 degress Celsius.

Antarctica is the coldest, most isolated, stormiest and driest continent on earth, making up 90 per cent of the world’s permanent ice and snow, but BAS insists it’s also exhilarating.

James Miller, the personnel officer, is persuasive: “It’s an amazing opportunity, a really fun place to work, and by supporting the scientists who look into important issues like climate change you’ll feel like you’re doing something really worthwhile.”

The job’s challenging too. “Working at BAS is not a routine job. The scientific research is world-leading, the engineering and technical challenges are immense, but ultimately you could be working in an environment where resilience and teamwork can be a matter of life and death.”

Still in two minds? Read on. Alan Light, who spent four months working as an electrician for the American Antarctic research centre this year, says the job appeals to people who want to experience “the closest thing to off-planet that can reasonably be achieved”.

“I enjoy it. Antarctica is a frontier … It is a blank slate, and full of potential.”

So hurry. Deadline for applications is Sep 21. You also get paid £22,340 p.a.

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