Field Training Officer (FTO)

Watch the video below to join Mawson station’s 2012 Field Training Officer Mel Fitzpatrick in a typical 'day at the office'.

Mawson station Field Training Officer Mel Fitzpatrick at work

Video transcript

So it's a pretty windy day here at Mawson and Malcolm and I are heading out to drill some sea ice. Every week we try and take sea ice measurements.

This is the drill. The weather's a little bit inclement, but we're going to use an electric drill today instead of a hand drill to make it a bit quicker.

So we're looking at the sea ice here, this sea ice has formed about six weeks ago. It's now about 80 centimetres thick and we take weekly measurements just to check how it changes. So this is science, Antarctic style.


And, the bottom of the sea ice.

[Wind, crackling sound]

Back on station. Well that was another excellent day at the office. See you all later.

[end transcript]

Two expeditioners stopped on a quad bike, looking at a map and compass
Expeditioners learn navigation skills during field training (Photo: M Woolridge)
Field trainingField training-man on stretcher being movedExpeditioners on Field Travel TrainingNavigation training on Macquarie IslandScheming field training officers arrange for the Hagg training group to set their training camp up for them!FTO teaching navigation skills in ship's messTraining in Antarctic glacier travelBuilding igloo during field trainingUsing ice axe to arrest slide down ice slopeField Training Officer on the Robinson Ridge cane line.Field training in the Vestfold Hills

Do you have a sense of adventure, enjoy training people and are skilled in snow survival, glacier travel and mountaineering?

Enthusiasm is a must, as Field Training Officers (FTOs) teach a wide range of survival skills to expeditioners, many of whom have little if any, outdoor or snow and ice experience.

A summer-only position, the FTOs are sometimes appointed as field guides for field parties working in remote areas.

At other times the position is more station based, conducting general field training for expeditioners, maintaining field equipment stores, training a wintering search and rescue team and coordinating and conducting search and rescue operations should an incident occur.

What will you actually do on the job?

  • Conducting pre-departure, shipboard, subantarctic and Antarctic field training.
  • Developing and delivering training programs across a wide range of subantarctic and Antarctic field skills.
  • Providing leadership and planning assistance to field programs.
  • Conducting and coordinating station search and rescue training.
  • Maintaining, issuing, and auditing field equipment.
  • Maintaining travel routes and GPS waypoint information.
  • Providing outdoor recreational opportunities for expeditioners.
As well as these specific job roles you will also be required to perform station duties rostered by the station leader to support community life, such as general kitchen duties, garbage clearance, water duties, and assisting other expedition members with official programs. You may volunteer for other duties such as firefighting, hydroponics and boating. 

Interested in working in Antarctica?

Jobs in Antarctica are advertised during a recruitment period towards the end of each year. Some positions are not available every year. For more information, see Jobs in Antarctica.