‘Virtual or online training is basically my only option while I’m down here and thankfully I’ve found it has exceeded expectations. It has allowed me to more easily balance work and study while being four hours behind the rest of Australia.’
Marina says HIA has kept varied lines of communication open for students like Ben by providing an online training option delivered via Zoom, email and WhatsApp. Although Tasmania continued to run live webinars, in Ben’s case, the HIA Training team were able to send through the recorded link to make sure he didn’t miss a thing.
‘We have been working hard to ensure everyone completing training with HIA are supported, and that of course includes the ways in which we communicate with them,’ Marina says.
When away from his studies, Ben has made an effort to make the most of exploring his new habitat, applying his trade skills in a very different environment to residential building, and capturing the beauty of his surroundings. This season he says there have been a number of highlights, but one in particular stands out in his mind.
‘We went on a trip to repair and test gas services for some of our distant buildings,’ Ben reveals. ‘Flying for the first time over the Vestfold Hills by chopper to our summer aircraft ski landing [gave an amazing] view from above.
‘Looking down at the rock formations and lakes before crossing the plateau will be something that stays in my memory. The scale, immensity and beauty of the continent is like nothing else I’ve yet to see. ’
While for the time being it’s work, study and explore, all good things come to an end and Ben is looking forward to returning home to some normality and beginning work on his own block of land with his new-found training under his belt.
‘I miss the important people in my life and being out and about exploring in the Tasmanian wilderness,’ he says. ‘I’m not looking forward to coming back to the flies and mosquitos though! I definitely don’t miss those.’
But we think he will be sure to miss capturing images of the wild, extreme beauty of the Antarctic landscape and the antics of the research base’s well-dressed penguin neighbours.