AS THE closure of Fonterra's Dennington factory draws closer, one fifth of workers are starting new beginnings, many in nearby similar jobs.
The company says 11 workers have left the site for new jobs, while union representatives say more could leave before the factory's November shutdown.
Seven workers will also move to other Fonterra sites, including a handful to its Cobden plant, with another two roles to be filled. Others are looking for work, have chosen to possibly retire or seek new employment next year.
Former Fonterra worker David Crowe said it "took a toll" when the company announced the factory's imminent closure to its 98 workers in May.
But Mr Crowe now considers himself "pretty lucky" to be among about half-a-dozen workers in similar employment at Koroit's Bega plant.
"I was one of the younger employees and I have a young family and I couldn't sit there and wait for stuff to happen," Mr Crowe said of leaving Dennington.
Mr Crowe worked casually at Koroit for about a month and now has a full-time job operating the plant's evaporator and dryer.
"A company like Bega want experience from other places. Take the cream off the top from Dennington and get the best workers and bring them to Koroit," he said.
Mr Crowe said he encouraged former colleagues still looking for work to "stay positive and you will get there in the end".
"You think you're in a nice secure job and then it closes. For me and my wife it was 'where to from here?' And for me it was matter of staying positive and knowing the opportunities would turn up," Mr Crowe said.
The Dennington site's union delegate Frank Kelly said some workers had also taken seasonal jobs at Saputo in Allansford. He said he was aware of about 20 workers who had left or were leaving Dennington.
"Each week there is one or two leaving and we have a barbecue for them and a get together," he said. "Under the circumstance morale is OK."
Mr Kelly said "everyone's situation is different" and he had chosen to "ride out" the factory's shutdown this year.
But he said for the remaining workers production at Dennington would likely soon reduce from seven to five days.
"We just don't have enough numbers to run the plant 24/7," he said. " There is not a lot of production left."
A Fonterra spokeswoman said the business supported its remaining employees resigning when they secured employment, and workforce changes would cause changes to shifts to "balance the site's operational needs" as the shutdown neared.
"We continue to offer comprehensive support to our people. We've engaged external services to provide outplacement support, and we're also working with the Victorian government to provide retraining through its workers in transition program," she said.
Australian Manufacturers' Workers Union organiser Tony Hynds said most of the union's members had left the Dennington site for nearby milk or gas plants.
"Tradesman are going to find work, they are in demand at the moment," Mr Hynds said. "There is still hope for people to transition in the same occupations, and it is local. They don't have to do fly in and fly out, or move the whole family out of the district. There is good paying jobs locally."
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