CBH Group is embarking on a mega recruitment drive to employ nearly 2000 harvest casuals with “competitive rates” starting at $29 per hour for shifts of up to 12 hours — and enough work to have one day off every two weeks. The grain handler threw open its harvest casuals applications this month, with jobs on offer for those aged 17 and older. CBH has three main roles available: receival point operators based at CBH’s country receival sites, plant operators based at the Albany, Esperance and Geraldton Grain Terminals, and grain technicians at the Forrestfield Metro Grain Centre. “Hours vary from day to day and will be dependent on the harvest conditions and weather,” the CBH website said. “Shifts can be up to 12 hours long and in some cases working 13 days out of a 14-day period. “As we operate seven days a week, this includes working on weekends and public holidays.” The co-operative employs 1300 to 2000 people each harvest to help get an average 15m tonnes of grain into CBH bins across more than 100 WA receival sites, stretching from north of Geraldton to Albany and across to Esperance. The casuals, many of whom are university students on summer break, are offered higher rates for weekend shifts. A marketing push focused on the metropolitan area and including TV, radio and social media helped CBH secure the 2000 harvest casuals needed to receive WA’s bumper crop last year, despite a labour shortage gripping the State. CBH’s job ad has this year pitched the cooperative as a “dynamic, diverse organisation with a bright future”. “CBH manages sites all across regional WA where our growers deliver their grain once it has been harvested, and each year we recruit a pool of harvest employees to help us receive this grain,” the job ad said. “We are looking for hard-working, safety-conscious individuals just like you, to help us keep these sites moving, getting growers and transporters in and out safely, quickly and back to harvesting.” CBH chief people officer Kelly McKenzie said the favourable start to the growing season meant regional WA had the potential to again produce a larger than average harvest. She said CBH was encouraging applicants from all backgrounds, walks of life and experience levels to apply. “Despite labour shortages being experienced across the state and our international border being closed to working holiday makers last year, our large recruitment drive enabled us to attract over 2000 harvest casuals,” she said. “It was fantastic seeing so many diverse people join the CBH team and roll up their sleeves to help and be a part of last year’s record-breaking harvest, where we received 21.3mt — enough grain to fill Optus Stadium 17 times. “Although borders have re-opened this year, WA growers are potentially set to grow another larger than average crop, which means CBH will need harvest casuals to help keep our sites moving, getting grain growers and transporters in and out of site safely, quickly and back to harvesting.” Ms McKenzie said the number of places available and commencement dates were dependent on a range of factors, including seasonal conditions and the expected crop size. Recruitment will continue through to September or until all locations have the enough staff to safely bring in this year’s grain harvest. All harvest casuals are provided with full training to ensure they can help WA growers safely deliver their crop, and CBH provides free basic accommodation at some sites. CBH is aiming for a record low all-injury frequency rate of below 6.5 for 2022-23 — down on its most recent rate of 7.3 — after the large number of inexperienced casual staff employed at its upcountry grain bins led to small increase in safety incidents last harvest. CBH has increased training for harvest casuals from two to five days and spent $16 million addressing potential safety risks at its 100 sites before it started to receive WA’s record harvest last year. CBH held an information webinar on July 13 for interested candidates.