The AAD is committed to ensuring that everyone who travels to Antarctica with the Division is well prepared with the knowledge and skills they require to stay safe, do their job well, contribute to the program, maintain the safety and well-being of others and protect the environment. Accordingly, the AAD plans, develops and coordinates the delivery of a comprehensive training program for expeditioners.

Training is tailored to meet the needs of the Division, individuals, trade and professional groups and station communities. Training requirements for individual expeditioners will vary according to their position, roles they will undertake, the station they are travelling to and previous experience.

Predeparture training

It is a mandatory requirement for everyone staying on station for longer than 14 days or anyone participating in a voyage (excluding trials) to undertake formal predeparture training. This is conducted in Hobart over one day prior to departure.

Each expeditioner will be advised by email of the details of the predeparture training they are required to attend and they must make themselves available to attend.

If there are grounds to be considered for an exemption from this training the expeditioner should contact the Training unit by return email as soon as possible after receipt of this notification. Requests for exemption will be considered and approval given by an AAD manager based on the premise that non-attendance will not compromise the safety of an expeditioner or an expedition. Applicants will be advised as soon as possible of the decision.

Predeparture training is valid for three years, so an expeditioner will not be required to re-attend this training until returning to Antarctica in the fourth season following completion of the initial training.

Training non-attendance

The AAD reserves the right to preclude any expeditioner from Antarctica service if he or she does not either attend the prescribed training program or seek formal exemption.

Predeparture training dates

Voyage / Flight Training dates
FA01 26 October 2020
FA02 2 November 2020
V1 21 December 2020
V2 29 January 2021
V3 26 March 2021

Voyage briefings

In addition to the mandatory training all expeditioners must attend compulsory voyage or flight briefings.

Travelling by ship

All expeditioners who are travelling to Antarctica by ship are required to attend a mandatory voyage briefing. This will be held on the day of sailing.

Non-attendance will exclude expeditioners from embarkation. The lifeboat familiarisation component of this briefing is an Australian Maritime Safety Authority requirement.

Travelling by air

All expeditioners who are travelling to Antarctica by air are required to attend a mandatory flight briefing. This includes important flight and Wilkins Runway briefings and essential Antarctic safety, survival, environmental and governance information.

Sessions are scheduled to be held at the Division’s premises on the afternoon immediately prior to the scheduled flight.

Other training

The training you will receive depends on the nature of the work you will be doing in Antarctica, your previous experience and your employment relationship with the AAD. The main employment relationships are:

  • Expeditioners who are employees of the AAD. This includes but is not limited to Station Leaders, tradespeople, chefs, doctors, watercraft operators and field training Officers.
  • Expeditioners who are travelling to Antarctica as part of an AAD science and/or non-science project which is governed by a Service Level Agreement (SLA)
  • Expeditioners employed by the Bureau of Meteorology.

A. Employee expeditioners

Your training program includes the following major training components delivered in Hobart:

  1. Trade and skill based training to build upon existing skills for working in Antarctica with the equipment used by the Division
  2. Community training, covering additional skills and knowledge required to work and live in Antarctica. Includes fire, quad bikes, Search and Rescue briefings/training
  3. Predeparture training

Whenever possible, training is conducted at the AAD in Kingston during business hours. A chartered bus collects expeditioners from their accommodation each morning and delivers them to the Division. A return bus departs at the end of the day to return expeditioners to accommodation in Hobart. Where courses are conducted away from the AAD and within the Hobart metropolitan area, you are required, where possible, to use public transport. The cost of tickets will be re-reimbursed by the AAD, therefore you should retain all used tickets or receipts. If you choose to use your own vehicle to travel, you will not be eligible to claim the costs of travel or parking.

For major courses held away from the AAD, such as fire training, transport will be arranged. Occasionally cab charge tickets will be issued to get to training.

B. Expeditioners who are part of a Science and/or non-Science project being undertaken under a Service Level Agreement

If you are an expeditioner travelling to Antarctica as part of a science or non-science project your training needs will be identified in your Service Level Agreement. It is important that you liaise with the AAD regarding how and when this training will be delivered, and that you allow sufficient time prior to departure to complete the training.

C. Expeditioners who are employed by other organisations

Expeditioners employed by the Bureau of Meteorology will undertake specialist training and may be required to participate in many of the training courses organised by the AAD. BOM will provide you with details of the training you require.

Attendance policy

Attendance at training is compulsory. In exceptional circumstances an exemption may be granted; each case is considered on its individual merits.

Field training

This component of the program is conducted by field training officers (FTOs) and continues following arrival in Antarctica. The training covers all aspects of living safely in the Antarctic/sub-Antarctic environment, with particular emphasis on survival skills.

Field training is planned and delivered according to work requirements and limitations are placed on Antarctic travel based on the expeditioner’s level of competency.

Field training is divided into a number of competency units and, once completed, training records are entered on a training database. Antarctic field training is current for three seasons. If an expeditioner has not completed survival or field travel training within this period, in the fourth season they must undertake refresher training at the highest level of training available:

  • survival — repeat 24 hour survival training
  • field travel — undertake a 24 hour refamiliarisation of field travel skills

If an expeditioner has not completed any training or refresher within four seasons, in the fifth or consecutive season they must repeat survival or field travel training.

Expeditioners are trained in common core competencies which include:

  • use and care of clothing and field equipment
  • field trip procedures
  • survival techniques
  • self-rescue
  • basic navigation
  • radio procedure
  • safety around stations & aircraft
  • environmental responsibilities

Additional specialist training units are provided according to work requirements in the field in Antarctica and include such topics as:

  • quad bike operation
  • living in field huts
  • camping
  • sea ice travel
  • glacier travel
  • crevasse rescue
  • GPS navigation
  • over-snow vehicle travel
  • remote area communication and power systems.

Exemptions from field training

Exemptions from components of field training may be granted based on previous experience such as:

  • safety and survival in Antarctica or the sub-Antarctic including:
    • navigation
    • snow shelters
    • glacier travel
    • crevasse rescue
    • knowledge of clothing use etc
  • knowledge of government policies
  • legislative requirements
  • AAD policies applicable for service with the AAD