A curious part of Ballarat's Mars factory is that as well as the unusually long time many employees spend working there, there's a lot of families involved.
The actual Mars family remains at the top of the conglomerate, but it's interesting to note there's several family links on the factory floor.
There's at least 23 groups of families currently working at the factory.
Tia McLachlan, 20, has just completed her first year on the M&Ms production line - she's already been nominated for a shift award.
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"I'm really enjoying it so far - at the moment I'm working on getting into other areas like the bar line, and trying to learn as many areas as possible," she said.
Prouder than usual is her dad Ash, who works in the factory as an electrician, and her aunt Sally, who is moving from the safety department to a management role.
"She got it on her own merits, not because she knows anybody, she actually works hard and she's a quick learner," Sally said.
Having her niece and brother around made her take her role in safety even more seriously, she added.
"I wouldn't want Tia working somewhere she'll end up injured, so it's good to be able to see that we are improving in that space," she said.
"From a safety perspective, when we started, there was like 30 hand-packing jobs per day, now there's zero manual handling jobs, so it's better for people's bodies."
Ash said he was also hoping Tia would take advantage of the flexibility the job offered.
He was initially trained up in joinery, but took a job on the production line because of the conditions.
He said when he jumped at the opportunity to take up an adult apprenticeship through Mars.
"When I first did an apprenticeship, there was a 30-year-old bloke and we called him Grandpa, because we were all 16 and 17 - I was 35 when I did my second one, and I don't know what they were calling me behind my back," he joked.
"When Tia was starting, I wasn't that keen on a 19-year-old becoming a shift worker and doing it for the rest of her life, but there's opportunities, if she wants to, to end up running the show."
Jarrod Simpson has been at the plant for almost 20 years, and since his son Jack began last year, he said he's seen more of the 18-year-old than he does at home.
"It's good (working with Jack), in the early days when they come out here, you don't know how they're going to cope with shift work, but he's really grasped it and he's enjoying it," he said.
Jack finished at St Pat's at the end of 2017, and is now in the Mars Bar and Milky Way wrapping room - his dad's over in the Maltesers room.
"I actually like it when he's up here, it's really different to when we're at home - it's pretty cool seeing him in the same workplace," he said.
Both Ash and Sally hope their children will consider jobs at the plant - continued investment in new equipment and buildings is a good sign the company is sticking around in Ballarat.
"Obviously manufacturing's pretty hard in Australia, there's been a lot of factories shut down, but we're here still pouring slabs of concrete and building new sheds, spending a lot of money on infrastructure to keep that up and running," Ash said.
Jarrod agreed, saying it was good for the area.
"We're lucky to have it 10 minutes from home, we're Ballarat boys," he said.
Mars' 40 year story
This year, Mars-Wrigley is celebrating 40 years of operation in Ballarat.
To highlight this, The Courier is talking to some of the people behind the scenes - the chocolate makers who have seen it all, the people taking local ideas to the rest of the world, and other interesting faces who keep the chocolate factory going day-to-day in Wendouree.
Ballarat is home to the technical hub and its largest Australian factory.
About 350 people are employed in Ballarat, and products like Mars Bars, M&Ms, Milky Ways, Pods and more are made right here for local and international markets.
It's the home for big ideas in brand development and innovation as well - Pods, for example, are a Ballarat invention.
Ballarat plant director Stuart McKay said the company was proud to be in the Ballarat community for the past 40 years.
"We ask our Associates to run the business like it's their own and this milestone is a timely opportunity to thank our Associates," he said.
Keep an eye out for more articles on the faces behind Mars in The Courier .
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