A comprehensive training program equips expeditioners with the knowledge and skills they need to stay safe, do their job well, contribute to the program and maintain the safety and well-being of others while protecting the environment.

The AAD is committed to ensuring that everyone who travels to Antarctica with the Division is well prepared. The AAD’s training program is tailored to meet the needs of the Division, individuals, trade and professional groups and station communities. The training requirements for each expeditioner will vary according to their position, their allocated station, and their previous experience.

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.

  • Expeditioners who are employees of the AAD (including but not limited to Station Leaders, tradespeople, chefs, doctors, watercraft operators and field training officers)
    • Trade and skill based training to build upon existing skills for working in Antarctica with the equipment used by the Division
    • Community training
    • Predeparture training
    • Field training
  • 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)
    • Training needs as identified in your Service Level Agreement
    • Predeparture training
    • Field training
  • Expeditioners employed by the Bureau of Meteorology
    • Specialist training organised by the AAD
    • Predeparture training
    • Field training

Predeparture training

Formal predeparture training is mandatory for everyone staying on station for longer than 14 days or participating in a voyage (excluding trials). This training takes place in Hobart immediately prior to being deployed.

You will be advised by email of the predeparture training that you need to attend. The AAD reserves the right to exclude any expeditioner from Antarctic service if they do not attend the prescribed training program.

Transport to training

A chartered bus collects expeditioners from their Hobart accommodation each morning and delivers them to the AAD Head Office located in Kingston. A return bus departs at the end of the day to return expeditioners to accommodation. Where training takes place away from Head Office, a hire car may be arranged by the Expedtioner Training Unit. Advice on these arrangments is provided by email. If you choose to use your own vehicle to travel, you will not be eligible to claim the costs of travel or parking.

Transport briefings

As part of predeparture training, all expeditioners must attend compulsory transport briefings. Advice on times and dates for these sessions is provided by email.

All expeditioners who are travelling to Antarctica by ship will attend a voyage briefing. This will be held on or before the day of sailing. Non-attendance will exclude you from embarkation. The lifeboat familiarisation component of this briefing is an Australian Maritime Safety Authority requirement.

All expeditioners who are travelling to Antarctica by air will complete an online Flight Briefing course and attend a flight information session.

Field training

This component of the program is conducted by field training officers (FTOs). Field training starts in Tasmania and continues after arrival in Antarctica. The training covers all aspects of living safely in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments. It has particular emphasis on survival skills.

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. They include topics such 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

Exemption requests should be emailed to expeditionertraining@aad.gov.au.