Meet The Team

College Managers

Selena Bolingbroke

College Principal

Selena recently joined the College in June 2023. She has worked across higher and further education, central and local government in leadership roles that have combined her interests in partnership, education and enterprise. Her previous appointments include Lead for External Engagement & Strategic Development, Goldsmiths, University of London; Pro Vice-Chancellor Strategic Planning & External Development, University of East London; Director of the Local Strategic Partnership for Thurrock; & Education and Skills Lead for the Thames Gateway Strategic Executive in the former Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Joe Mercer

Business Manager

David Pearham

Senior Manager, Apprenticeships and Employer Engagement

Administration Team


Michael Morrison


Michael Morrison was appointed chair of the Governors in 2021. He is a retired architect having previously been managing partner and chair of the conservation architects ‘Purcell’. He has been a member of the National Trust’s Architectural Panel; a member of Heritage Lottery Fund’s Expert Advisory Panel; A Trustee of the Greenwich Foundation; a Commissioner for Historic England, and a member of the Wood Awards judging panel.

Dr Allen Zimbler

Dr Allen Zimbler (BA Hons, MBA, PhD (Witwatersrand)) started his career lecturing for 15 years at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where he became a Full Professor. He has served on the Boards of public companies and charities, retired as an Executive Director of Investec Bank Plc, and is currently Head of Governors of Morpeth School in Tower Hamlets.

Alistair Gregory-Smith

A Governor of the Building Crafts College responsible for overseeing the finances of the College since 2017. Alistair has previously spent 40 years giving financial advice to companies and individuals, as well as holding a number of senior executive roles in the financial services industry.

Nick Gutfreund

Having worked in advertising and marketing for over 18 years I decided it was time to do something that allowed me to be really creative! My journey through the world of furniture design and making started when I was accepted onto the Fine Woodworking Diploma course at the Building Crafts College 20 years ago, and since then I’ve never looked back. I’ve been lucky enough to win several awards, become a liveryman of the Carpenters’ Company, establish my own bespoke furniture design and making company, and be commissioned to make some very special pieces, by corporate and private clients, including the Livery Companies, the Royal Navy, and the Royal Family. Being asked to be a Governor of the college has brought me full circle and allows me to help those, just starting their journey into the amazing world of wood, to realise that anything is possible.

Brigadier John Meardon

I have been involved with the College for over 20 years, first as a customer sending stone mason apprentices from Canterbury Cathedral and more recently as a governor through my appointments as a Liveryman, Warden and Master of the Carpenters Company. My background is military (Royal Marines ) followed by 18 years at Canterbury, where I became immersed in the cultural and practical aspects of maintaining historic buildings and the craft skills needed to sustain them.

Rachel Bower

Rachel Bower, now retired, had forty years’ experience in the historic building industry working with architects, surveyors and engineers. She was the Education Officer of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings running the travelling Scholarships for building professionals and the William Morris Craft Fellowships for building craftsmen. She has been on the BCC Board of Governors for 11 years and was its previous Chairman. She attended evening classes at the College as a letter-cutting student in 2008-9. Rachel was a co-opted member of the City of London’s Education Board and its City Careers Festival sub-group 2019-22. She is a Trustee of the BCC Charity, the BCC Trading Co Ltd and of the Carpenters’ Company Charitable Trust.

John Barradell

I have been newly appointed as a Governor of the College. Previously the Chief Executive of both the City of London Corporation and Brighton & Hove City Council, I have been involved in the oversight of educational leadership from both a local authority and academy sponsor’s standpoint, at both primary and secondary levels. I have chaired a number of charities and am currently the Chair of the National Emergencies Trust – a charity focused on the support for those affected by national events – for example COVID, where the charity raised some £100m for distribution throughout the four nations.

Bruce Hodgson

Bruce Hodgson attended Sedbergh School in Yorkshire where he spent many happy hours in the Design and Technology Centre. After leaving school in 1985, he attended Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was commissioned into The Light Infantry from 1986 to 1991. After five years he left the forces to get married and to pursue a career in furniture making. He trained as a Cabinet Maker part time at the London College of Furniture, whilst working as a general manager to a London joinery firm.

In 1993 he moved his family to Bristol to start his furniture making business. Thirty years on the business is thriving in Cheddar, it is called Artichoke and employs over fifty staff. The business provides interior architectural design, interior design, and joinery and furniture design, as well as making, project managing and installing bespoke residential interiors around the world. Bruce’s day job is as the Creative Director at Artichoke.

John Michael Burton MBE

John Burton is an architect and partner of a worldwide architectural practice which specialises in the repair and conservation of historic buildings. He was awarded an MBE for services to the Conservation of Historic Architecture. He has cared for nationally important buildings, including Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, which had their own works departments employing craftspeople. John has a broad knowledge of all building matters and is very familiar with the qualifications and skills that the students at the BCC must obtain. He has encouraged, individually and in groups, many craftspeople to expand their knowledge and experience.

John served as a Governor of Kent Institute of Art and Design and the Burdett Coutts and Townsend Foundation Primary School in Westminster. He remains a member of various national and diocesan committees involved in the Ecclesiastical planning law, so has a broad experience of Governance. John is a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Masons.

Paul Wilkinson

Paul Wilkinson is the City Surveyor and Executive Director of Property and heads the City Surveyors Department. The Department is responsible for the management of the Corporation’s property investment portfolio, corporate real estate, property/construction projects and the operational management of both portfolios.

Through the Investment Property Group, the department has a considerable impact on the central London property market. With ownership in the Square Mile covering about 25% of the area, with other investment ownerships extending to Westminster, Camden, Southwark and beyond, and with operational ownership covering inner and Outer London Boroughs, the work of the Department has significance probably unequalled in the public sector.

Aiden Mortimer

FRSA FCIOB FRICS MSc in Historic Conservation​

I have worked in the construction industry for over 40 years in various craft and management roles, including 25 years as Chief Executive of a regional building company. I am currently Chairman of the, London based, Knowles Construction Group and a non-executive director of Nicholsons, a sustainable landscaping and forestry business in Oxfordshire. For the last 12 years I have sat on the judging panel of the Prince’s Foundation Building Craft Programme. I previously served as a governor at Ackworth School in Yorkshire for 12 years.

Other Contacts

A variety of wood occupations courses, including carpentry, joinery, wood machining and furniture making is delivered by a talented team of experienced tutors. They deliver high quality training that has earned the BCC a reputation as a top provider of timber-based courses and apprenticeships.

  • Travis Warrington – Tutor, Apprenticeships –
  • Anthony Lainson – Tutor, Carpentry and Joinery –
  • Errol Boswell – Technician –
  • Ruth Thomson – Tutor, Carpentry and Joinery –
  • Lee Lane – Tutor, Joinery Apprenticeships
    Lee is a fully qualified bench joiner/shop fitter, completing his apprenticeship at the BCC while employed by both Sykes and Sons, and Bruce Tipper Joinery, based in Leyton. Both opportunities were the perfect place for him to excel at joinery and complete high end projects,. During his career, Lee has worked on some of England’s most prestigious sites, including the Royal Courts of Justice, Buckingham Palace and the Royal Opera House. Since fully qualifying, Lee has worked for prestigious furniture companies and was last employed as a set builder at the Royal Opera House.
  • Steve McGloin – Tutor, Joinery –
  • Born in Salford, initially Steve undertook an art and design training, before moving to Bristol to study for a degree in industrial design which led to a successful career in advertising. On moving to Essex Steve completed a PGCE at Cambridge followed by seventeen years teaching design and technology, across secondary education including Product design and engineering A levels. As part of his personal and professional development he completed a furniture making course then bench joinery level two and three at the BCC.
  • Nik Rushmer – Tutor, Joinery – 
  • Nik joined the Building Craft College in 2021, after spending many years in the theatre industry. He began his career working in the Props Department at the National Theatre, working on many major productions including War Horse, Frankenstein and One Man, Two Governors. From here, Nik moved to the National Theatre’s scenic carpentry department, where he further developed his skills in carpentry, joinery and machinery. In 2015, Nik moved to the Royal Opera House, where he continued to produce high end scenic constructions for world famous productions such as, Swan Lake and Don Giovani.
  • George Webster – Apprentice –

The Construction provision at the BCC encompasses a wide range of work including site carpentry, maintenance, and bricklaying.  Delivered at our Gibbins Road Campus, the courses are attended by apprentices, and school leavers starting out on their careers in construction.

  • Darren Oliver – Tutor, Construction Operations –
  • Andy Stirrup – Tutor, Site Carpentry –
    Andy is a time served carpenter and worked in the industry for 33 years as a carpenter before progressing to foreman/supervisor and then onto project manager for a sub contractor. From there he progressed into Project Management for main contractors managing large commercial projects before a change of career in February 2016 when he joined the BCC to teach carpentry to apprentices. Andy now teaches up to level 3 site carpentry and is an NVQ assessor.
  • Paul Dowding – Tutor, Site Carpentry –
  • Neil Hayman – Tutor, Multi-crafts and Bricklaying –
    Neil became a bricklayer and completed his apprenticeship in the 1980s. He worked for a number of large companies including Harry Neal and Ideal Homes and then the charity, Kings Fund where he trained prisoners to build a sensory garden that was opened by Prince Charles. His skills include heritage brickwork which he teaches alongside traditional brickwork at the BCC.
  • Robin Clifton – Lead Tutor, Furniture Design & Making –
  • Paulo de Vasconcelos – Tutor, Furniture Design & Making –
    Paulo’s furniture making career started at The Building Crafts College and has now come full circle in becoming a tutor in the fine woodworking department. With encouragement from his tutor here, he applied for the apprenticeship at the renowned Edward Barnsley Workshop. On completion of his 3 year apprenticeship, he went on to work as a craftsman there before joining industry renowned furniture maker/ designer Richard Williams, during which time he made some incredible pieces of furniture. After a time working for furniture companies, Paulo decided on a change of career and wanting to share with others, the skills that he had learnt, went into teaching. After a period of time teaching at a secondary school, Paulo joined the BCC – right back where his passion began.
  • Alex Worsfold – Tutor, Furniture Design & Making, Part time –
  • Alex trained at The Bartlett School of Architecture and The Building Crafts College (BCC) where he also served as maker in residence. He has been course leader at The New School of Furniture, designing and running courses that teach craft techniques and making. Most recently Alex has been Lead Maker for Emma Leslie Furniture and workshop manager at the London based charity Goldfinch. Alex is a Designer and Maker he has frequently worked with architects, artists, designers, institutions, and private clients.
  • James Read, Tutor, Furniture Design & Making, Part time –                                                                       James was lucky enough to discover the BCC in 2011 when he was looking to make a change in career from hospitality and studied the Fine Furniture Design and Making Diploma. Upon graduation James received the City and Guilds Medal of Excellence for his work and was made a member of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters. He stayed on at the college as a Maker in Residence for a year alongside establishing his own bespoke furniture company. He now teaches Bench Joinery and Fine Woodworkers. He is also a lead tutor for teaching Fusion360 CAD.
  • Kate Payne – Tutor, Furniture Making and Wood Turning –
  • Saena Ku – Evening Class Tutor, Wood Carving –
    Saena Ku is an established woodcarver and gilder with over 20 years experience in the industry. Graduating from the City & Guilds of London Art school in ornamental woodcarving and gilding in 2000, Saena has built a strong reputation and a successful portfolio within both the traditional and contemporary woodcarving sector. Prestigious past projects include gilding works at Tower of London for Historic Royal Palaces; woodcarving at New College and Oriel College in Oxford, carving and gilding for several London livery companies, and carving works for the Queen’s barge at the Diamond Jubilee. In more contemporary and commercial projects, Saena has worked with Penguin Books, Hodder & Stoughton, Guiness, Kopparberg and several fashion designers. A former woodcarving tutor at the C&G Art school from 2007-2018, Saena has taught at the BCC since 2009. In 2020 Saena was awarded the Master Carver Certificate from the Worshipful Company of Joiners & Ceilers.
  • Nigel Gilkison – Lead Tutor, Stonemasonry –
    Nigel has developed the Stonemasonry provision at the BCC so that its reputation as a centre for the development of high level skills is unparalleled across the country. Student work is of a very high quality, not only in the individual pieces produced by students but also in the many group projects they complete. Students in the area of stonemasonry benefit from Nigel’s extensive experience in the stone industry.
  • Nancy Peskett – Tutor, Apprenticeships –
    With a background in architecture and conservation, Nancy has worked for over 20 years in the construction industry. She trained in stonemasonry at the Building Crafts College, from where she undertook a craft apprenticeship with the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community. Nancy is a registered assessor, delivering workshop training and site-based assessments in stonemasonry, heritage and related site management qualifications.
  • Adeline Wartner – Tutor –
    Adeline obtained a Restoration Diploma at the City and Guilds of London Art School in 1999, then worked as a conservator and attended various stone carving classes and workshops. She studied the Advanced Level 3 Stonemasonry Diploma at the Building Crafts College in 2015 and qualified in 2018. She was then s Maker in Residence for two years and now teaches part time at the BCC. Adeline is also self-employed as a stonemason and stone- and letter-carver.