Name: Tom Tickner
Job title: Line lead
Company & location: Molson Coors, Burton upon Trent
Education: University of Manchester, Chemical Engineering
Why did you decide to go for a career in food? I’ve always wanted to work in an industry where I could be involved with making a tangible product that people can enjoy having in their lives. I love working in the drinks industry and being immersed in the day-to-day intricacies of brewing beers. Whether I am meeting friends at the pub or at family gatherings I can be very proud of saying that I’m involved in producing some of the nation’s most loved drinks, like Carling and Coors Light.
Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): As a line lead I’m responsible for the performance of one of our can lines that we have on site here at Burton. I look at longer term improvement projects and the manufacturing strategy to ensure the line runs efficiently as possible. The line I look after is capable of producing over 100,000 cans per hour, and it’s my responsibility to ensure that each one of these meets the standards that our customers expect.
What does a typical day look like for you? My job is always varied, which is exciting, but a typical day starts with reviewing the performance of the last 24 hours and planning what needs to be achieved in the day ahead. I then spend most of my time on the production line, working with our team of technicians and engineers to make sure everything is running like clockwork.
Tell us about how you went about applying for your job? I spotted Molson Coors’ internship scheme on an internal job page at my university in Manchester, and completed an online application form. Within a few days of uploading my CV I’d heard back and, before I knew it, I was doing a web interview for the programme – the whole process was really quick and simple, which was very reassuring at the time when I was a student and a little bit daunted by the working world!
“It’s a worldwide company with a hometown feel, so every brewery has its own personality”
What’s the best part about working for a food & drink company? The most exciting part of working in the industry is you can walk into a supermarket or pub and see someone choosing the product that you’ve helped to make. Knowing that what I do is enjoyed by millions of customers across the UK makes me feel really proud.
And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? To the outside world, manufacturing sites, factories and breweries aren’t painted as the most glamourous places to work. Contrary to this, they can be fantastic places to work – you get to work alongside a great and diverse group of people and it can be fascinating to see the intricacies of production occurring right in front of your eyes.
What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? Getting any kind of work experience is invaluable to help you get a sense of the career you want to pursue. I started with a placement with Nestlé and then with Molson Coors.
If you’re first starting out or trying to get your foot in the door, there really is no harm in contacting the company you’re interested in and trying to get some work experience or find job opportunities for yourself. The truth is, without going into a site and getting a taste of the industry you won’t know if you’ll like it or not.
What’s your ultimate career dream? I would love to end up in a position where I can travel the world, visiting different manufacturing sites and working with people from all sorts of cultures. That’s another great benefit of working for a company like Molson Coors – it’s a worldwide company with a hometown feel, so every brewery has its own personality and there’s lots of opportunity to move around the business globally. Watch this space!