Andover Central graduate Cameron Ernst has landed one of the Best Jobs in the World.
Ernst, a 2006 Andover Central High School graduate, entered a Best Jobs in the World competition hosted by Tourism Australia to compete for one of six jobs based in each state of Australia.
After seeing an ad on Faceboook, Ernst sent in his 30-second application video. His was one of more than 330,000 applications from 196 countries.
The positions were Chief Funster, Lifestyle Photographer, Outback Adventurer, Park Ranger, Taste Master and Wildlife Caretaker.
Ernst spent June 10-25 in Australia competing as a finalist. He applied for the Chief Funster position, but ended up winning the surprise job of the competition as High Flyer with Virgin Australia.
"The experience of the competition was unlike anything I've ever done before," said Ernst. "It was truly surreal to be in Australia, and the 18 finalists were treated like kings and queens from the hotels we stayed at to the incredible meals we ate. The competition was very fast-paced and the schedule was jam-packed, but it was such a thrill to be a part of and an honor to have been invited."
The competition was centered in Sydney. Finalists were split up into their designated jobs and sent out to the states they would be working in for part of the competition. Ernst competed for Chief Funster in New South Wales.
To be chosen as a finalist, Ernst first sent in an application video. The list was then narrowed down to 150 people. Then another competition narrowed the finalists down to 18 finalists - three for each job. The 18 finalists were flown to Sydney for the final competition.
"In the end, I didn't get the Chief Funster job I was going for," said Ernst. "I ended up getting the surprise seventh job of the competition that Virgin Australia had created called High Flyer. My job description is flying around all of Australia and experiencing and searching for the best service and hospitality that the country has to offer."
"They announced this job when we arrived in Sydney and told us that one person who did not land one of the six original jobs would be selected as Virgin Australia's High Flyer," he explained.
Ernst was one of two American winners of the competition.
"I was completely shocked when they called my name for the High Flyer position," said Ernst. "The announcement for Chief Funster was first, so to not land that job was one thing. To then hear my name called for the surprise seventh job was totally unexpected."
Ernst expects to start his job in mid August and the job will last for six months.
He said he isn't sure what the future holds after the six-month job.
Page 2 of 2 - "I'm just taking it one day at a time," he said.
He would like to encourage others to explore the world.
"I went to Andover schools and loved the small town life that I had growing up. My venture to Los Angeles for college was a huge jump for me and now taking this job in Australia is even a bigger jump," said Ernst. "I hope to encourage others that there is a world out there beyond your backyard that is worth exploring. Go on adventures and take risks! And as the Aussies say, have 'no worries.'"