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Britain’s oldest brewer, Shepherd Neame is a family business that brews beer using the finest traditional ingredients. A vertically integrated regional brewer, with an estate of high-quality pubs and hotels across the South East of England. We’re delighted to be working with them.

Angela Barlow, Head of Training, met initially with Pete Fullard, CEO, selling in Upskill People to her manager saying, “You must meet this man”. She says, “We had previously looked at online learning but we found other systems too expensive or too boring. With Upskill People we really liked how it all fitted together and we could see a lot of potential for our business. It gives us the opportunity to offer a truly blended learning programme.”

Shepherd Neame uses the Upskill People learning platform to host their own courses and online briefings. Using the built-in Easy Course Builder tool the existing induction programme has now been migrated to the Upskill People online platform. The team now have easy to use and informative reporting and analysis tools as standard, the result – time-saving and better decisions.

Angela says, “The learning platform is a real benefit for our business. Previously all training records were held at individual pubs and hotels, with all central courses hosted at the Brewery. This meant managers couldn’t see the courses and we couldn’t see who’s been trained. The training audits were a manual process and very time-intensive. Now everything is in one place and with 360° visibility immediately on what training has been completed. We are much more proactive and really value the reporting aspect in terms of monitoring our return on investment.”

Feedback on the platform from managers, assistants and staff ahead of implementation was tremendously positive. Our bespoke online induction programme has been designed with Upskill People and rolled out to staff across all the brewer’s managed houses.

  • “It’s a huge cultural change for us in terms of how we operate and will take time to bed in. What is so positive is the timesaving aspect for managers as previously we’d been using an exam-based system that managers had to mark themselves. Suddenly this disappeared and freed up their time. That’s been an important factor in getting them to buy-in to online learning.”

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    Angela Barlow Head of Training, Shepherd Neame

Each new employee completes a suite of modules relevant to their role. They are presented with information on the module topic, then asked to complete multiple-choice questions to confirm their knowledge. To pass, they have to get a score of 100% within three attempts. The online training works on all devices, so it’s easily accessible, and each module only takes around 15 to 30 minutes to complete.

Angela worked with Upskill People on the design and implementation of the new induction training. She says, “New staff previously had to fill in a 76-page ring bound induction book, which would be checked by their manager, with personnel records kept at each individual site.
This new online system cuts down on the time managers have to spend on inductions, and allows us to keep track of the progress of every member of staff remotely. For the first time, we have 360˚ visibility of our training, making it easier to plan individual and business training needs.”

Shepherd Neame has also worked with Upskill People over the last 12 months to develop bespoke courses to cover other technical skills, using the Easy Course Builder, in particular, the IT systems used in each location.

Case Study: Royal Wells Hotel



Online training was used for the first time as an integrated part of Shepherd Neame’s pre-development training at the Royal Wells Hotel in Tunbridge Wells, which reopened following a £2.4 million makeover. As a result of the revamp, the hotel took on 20 new staff, who all completed their induction using the new online training. The other employees in the 55-strong team also completed individually tailored suites of modules.

  • “It was fantastic, particularly for the new staff as their training could start before they even walked into the hotel. As soon as they were hired, they were able to log in to the site and complete two courses, so they could find out more about Shepherd Neame and their role before they started. The hotel was closed during the refurbishment work, so we held some training days and made laptops available for use. As a result, 75% of new starters had completed their induction before we even opened the hotel doors.”

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    Angela Barlow Head of Training, Shepherd Neame

Allergen training led to further move online

Last year Shepherd Neame used Upskill People’s online allergen training course. The success of this one-off training module led directly to a further move online for training courses.
Angela Barlow says, “We needed to ensure all our staff were compliant with a law change in relation to allergens and decided to try e-learning before the legislation came into force. It proved successful and demonstrated a willingness to embrace the new technology, so we decided to expand our use of it.”

  • “We are very excited about this new method of learning, which is time-saving, efficient and cost-effective. It is great to see its success at the Royal Wells, and it looks set to be a valuable tool across our estate.”

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    Nigel Bunting Director of Retail Operations
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