12 April, 2005

British Antarctic Survey (BAS), the world-leading scientific research centre, is launching a recruitment drive to attract tradeswomen to join its workforce on the frozen continent. As part of its annual recruitment campaign, BAS is actively encouraging women to take an opportunity of a lifetime and join its teams working in the world’s last pristine wilderness. This drive coincides with an advert in this month’s (May) Cosmopolitan Magazine along with a number of other trade magazines.

Jill Thomson, Head of Building Services at BAS, says, “This is an amazing opportunity. Where else can you work in an environment surrounded by penguins, seals and icebergs and climb down a crevasse during your lunch hour? It’s a really fun place to work and by supporting the scientists who look into important issues like climate change you feel like you’re doing something really worthwhile.

“This is a tremendous chance for women with a sense of adventure to try something completely different. While the salaries are not as high as you can earn in the UK, there is an Antarctic allowance and with no outgoing costs on accommodation or food it’s a good way to save money.”

With the number of women entering trades posts increasing each year, BAS is keen to tap into a growing industry.

Ros Wall, project manager at Jive, a national initiative that works to support employers in recruiting and promoting more women into the engineering, construction and technology sectors said, “We very much support BAS in their drive to recruit more women. Women will play an increasingly important role in the manual trades and those who take up these positions will be fantastic role models. The opportunities at BAS are a great example of the range of exciting and rewarding careers that exist in the manual trades.”

With five research stations on and around the continent, staff can enjoy stunning scenery and good working conditions with the bonus of 24 hr communications, no junk mail, cooking or television. And it’s not as cold as you might think. Temperatures range from +5 C during the austral summer to -40 C during the winter months.

BAS is recruiting for electricians, plumbers, carpenters, steel erectors, chefs and boat handlers. Contracts range from six months to 18 months and salaries start at £18,338 with an Antarctic allowance. All food, accommodation and travel are paid for.


Issued by the British Antarctic Survey Press Office.
Contact Athena Dinar tel. (01223) 221414, email a.dinar@bas.ac.uk or
Linda Capper tel. (01223) 221448, email l.capper@bas.ac.uk

Notes to Editors:

Photographs and footage of women working in Antarctica are available from the BAS Press Office as above.

BAS operates an equal opportunities policy and employs the ‘best person for the job’ regardless of gender. BAS is working with a number of trade bodies that represent women working in the manual trades and is advertising in the Women and Manual Trades Newsletter, Women in Plumbing e-newsletter, Jive Partners/Women’s Training Network newsletter and the UK Resource Centre for Women in Science Engineering and Technology newsletter. It has also placed an advert in this month’s (May) Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Of the 400 staff currently employed by BAS, 29% are women. At the research stations, approx 18% of staff employed during the austral summer are women.

The Antarctic Allowance is £2,157 pa pro rata.

Plumbing – There are severe skills shortages in this area
– It is estimated by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) that 29,000 new plumbers will be needed by 2007
– Less than 10,000 women were working in this occupation in spring 2003, compared with 191,000 men

Engineering – The National Skills Survey reported 30 per cent skills shortage vacancies in 2003
– It is estimated that an additional 10,000 young people will be needed for engineering apprenticeships by 2005
– The proportion of women working in engineering occupations is only 8%
– 64,000 women were working in engineering occupations in spring 2003, compared with 731,000 men.

Construction – There are severe skills shortages
-The proportion of women working in construction is only 1 per cent
– 16,000 women were working in construction occupations in spring 2003, compared with 1,591,000 men

British Antarctic Survey is a world leader in research into global issues in an Antarctic context. It is the UK’s national operator and is a component of the Natural Environment Research Council. It has an annual budget of around £40 million, runs eight research programmes and operates five research stations, two Royal Research Ships and five aircraft in and around Antarctica. More information about the work of the Survey can be found at: www.antarctica.ac.uk

Current vacancies

JIVE Partners are developing innovative and practical support for schools, careers advisers, learning providers and employers in the UK to challenge occupational segregation. For more information visit: www.jivepartners.org.uk.