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Nicola Allen - Brewing Planning Manager

Our Brewing Planning Manager Nicola Allen, 42, lives in Faversham with her husband and two children. She has worked for Shepherd Neame for 19 years, joining as an Administrator in the engineering team, then working as a Shift Manager in the bottling department, Shift Brewer, and Process Improvement Engineer. She has held her current role as Brewing Planning Manager since 2016.

Why did you join Shepherd Neame? I have always loved fixing things, and initially wanted to be a car mechanic. I studied Engineering at Hertfordshire University, which is when I became really interested in manufacturing, so I continued my studies with a Masters in Manufacturing Management. I grew up in Canterbury, so knew lots about Shepherd Neame and always thought that it would be an interesting place to work. I sent in my CV on the off-chance they might have a role, and was working for them within a couple of weeks.

What do you enjoy about your role? My job is to plan the brewing and beer movements to packaging lines. I like problem solving, so really enjoy working out ways of keeping things moving between departments. I pride myself on remaining calm under pressure. I also love working in a team, particularly at Shepherd Neame, as everyone here really cares about the beer they put out. 

What does a typical day involve? I have two young children, so I am in the office from 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday, so I can do the school run. I then complete the rest of my hours at home in the evening. I have always worked full-time, and after having my children, the team at Shepherd Neame were happy to accommodate a flexible working arrangement.

Have you experienced any gender-related challenges? It was initially difficult joining a traditionally male-dominated environment. When I joined Shepherd Neame I was the only woman in the engineering department - they initially assumed I had joined as a secretary! But the team were fantastic and made me feel really welcome. I was always confident in my abilities and determined to succeed. I love what I do and am really proud of what I have achieved. 

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