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Case Study: Amy Kincaid

Personal details
Degree:BSc Geography Profile picture
School(s): School of Geography and Geosciences
Year of Graduation:Jun-2014
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: UK Antarctic Heritage Trust
Job title: Port Lockroy Assistant
Occupational Sector: Environmental Work
What has been your route to getting your current position?
I applied for this job while I was in 4th year, and went to the selection weekend just after my last exams, which was perfect timing! Between graduation and this job I worked as a cook in various shooting estates in Scotland, so not very related!
What does your job involve ?
I spent a season at Port Lockroy, Antarctica, living and working on an island the size of a football pitch. Port Lockroy is the site of the first British base in Antarctica and is now a museum, shop and post office which raises funds for the conservation of historic huts on the Antarctic peninsula. My job was to welcome 18,000 visitors from cruise ships and yachts during the season, as well as doing lots of maintenance work on the historic buildings.
What are the best bits of your job ?
Living with penguins and seeing the changes that occur throughout the season - from the snow melting away to the penguin chicks hatching and growing up! But also meeting a wide variety of people from all over the world on the ships. Some of the lecturers on board have incredible experiences to share e.g. about ice coring, geology and life in Antarctic in the 60s!
Why were you successful?
In university summer holidays I worked at Rua Fiola Outdoor Centre, which gave me experience of working and living in small areas with no internet, electricity, or escape! I think this helped me get the job, as well as previous shop experience and speaking Spanish.
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
Having studied geography, I was really interested to be able to live in a place surrounded by glaciers and mountains! However, this job is not exactly intellectually challenging. The most important skills are getting along with people in a confined environment and be able to speak everyone with a smile, no matter how tired you are!
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?
Think seriously about what kind of person you are - living in Antarctica is absolutely incredible and this is a wonderful opportunity, but you will work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week and have no personal time or space. Your whole life will be consumed by Antarctica while you are there. There are only four people there, and you all share a bedroom in a small hut on a tiny island with no running water or shower. You must be very tolerant, positive and hard working, but on the good days it is a wonderful place to be!