IN a first for the region, BHP Mt Arthur Coal has joined forces with Chandler MacLeod to offer supplementary employment for drought-affected farmers.
The two companies have devised a unique program to help alleviate some of the financial burden and hardship plaguing the local men and women on the land.
They are seeking applications from Upper Hunter farmers with a strong agricultural background and who have operated various types of machinery within a farming environment to undertake a role as a haul truck operator in Muswellbrook.
Lead contract coordinator, production projects at BHP Mt Arthur Coal Courtney Rawson said she was all too aware of the pressures facing local farmers.
"We have many employees who have left jobs on the land because of the impacts of the drought and the long lasting impacts upon them and their families are truly devastating," she explained.
"We've had some applications for the program already, with applicants mentioning that an opportunity like this would allow them to continue to feed the stock they still have."
The positions will allow the benefits of three different roster patterns to provide flexibility to working farmers and their families, allowing them to return home on days off while providing an extra income.
"The initiative provides 6-12 weeks paid training on site to gain both mechanical and electric haul truck skills," Ms Rawson said.
"We would then give applicants the opportunity to remain on site as a casual haul truck operator once their training is completed.
"We'd love some help spreading the word around about this program so we can make sure the right people get this opportunity.
"It's only a small gesture but one, that we hope, can help to alleviate some of the stress facing our local farmers."
Anyone interested in applying for the program are encouraged to email their CV to email@example.com or phone Megan on 6572 5900 for more information.