Meet the Governors

Meet the Governors

Neill Bucktin

Neill is Chair of the Corporation, Chair of the Governance & Search Committee and a member of the Corporation Appeal Committee.

Neill was born in York. He was educated at Leicester Polytechnic, Sheffield Business School and Worcester College of Technology where he was awarded with a prize for best student on the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators course in 1984.

Neill has held a number of senior management roles in local government and the NHS. He currently works for Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group as Director of Commissioning.

Neill is an avid supporter of Worcester Warriors.


Denis Miles

Denis is Vice Chair of the Corporation, a member of the Audit and Remuneration Committees and Estates and Quality Groups and is the Governor Insight Scheme Governor Champion.

Denis was born in London and went to university in Cardiff where he obtained a degree in Economics, was elected President of the Students’ Union and became the first ever student governor of the University of Wales.

He spent 17 years in the aluminium industry in London, Wales, Cumbria and Birmingham, the latter two as a Financial Director and Company Secretary. He then spent eight years as UK Finance Director of a UK-US group making industrial machinery. He has been a Chartered Management Accountant since 1980.

Denis moved to government from 2000 to 2011, holding senior financial positions in the Learning & Skills Council and Skills Funding Agency in the South West Region and as National Director of Provider Financial Management. He worked closely with colleges and representative bodies and was heavily involved with all major capital project applications, financial aspects of merger proposals and working with colleges in financial difficulty.

Denis and his wife (a Solihull College lecturer for over 20 years) have lived in Redditch since 1987. He is a qualified tennis umpire and Wimbledon line judge; has run 58 marathons and half marathons; has climbed all 214 mountains in the Lake District; and is a lifelong Blackpool football supporter. He is also proud to say that, in his youth, he saw the Beatles in concert and was at the World Cup Final in 1966!


David Ash

David is Chair of the Corporation Appeal Committee and a member of the Governance & Search and Remuneration Committees.

David and his family settled in Worcester in 2001. He has worked as a lawyer throughout his career; he gained a Law Degree at the University of Sheffield then qualified as a Solicitor in 1980. After a few years in private practice, he tried a change of tack and joined the Royal Air Force as a Legal Officer; he signed up for five years but enjoyed it so much that he stayed on for twenty. Since leaving the RAF, he has been a specialist lawyer in the Higher Education sector; initially he was the Deputy Director of Legal Services at the University of Birmingham and more recently has worked in short-term posts at various other universities as a freelance Consultant.

David has always been interested in sport and currently cycles, runs, walks mountains and skis. In the past he has also dabbled in football, rugby, tennis, rock climbing, windsurfing and snowboarding. His other main interests are contemporary music and watching football and cycling. At times he has been a School Governor, Chairman of a local Community Centre, youth football coach, ski instructor and member of a Mountain Rescue Team.

David was born and raised in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and, unsurprisingly, is a lifelong fan of Newcastle United.


Steve Bolton

Steve is a member of the Audit Committee and the Business Governor Champion.

Steve was born in Solihull and grew up in and attended schools in the Redditch borough.

Leaving school at 15 Steve worked for local manufacturing companies and attended, on day release, both Redditch and Bromsgrove Colleges studying mechanical and production engineering. The qualifications he gained laid the foundation to move into the world of computer maintenance working on contracts supporting IT infrastructures for companies including Rover Group and AT&T, rising through the ranks to become Managing Director of a leading pan European IT Service Company.

Steve is a strong advocate of lifelong learning, which FE colleges provide, and a supporter of the ethos of inclusivity for all, from people with learning disabilities through to mature students. Having gained experience within companies across various sectors up to Chief Executive level, Steve has reached the stage in his career where he is keen to utilise his skills and expertise to assist other organisations to develop and succeed. Steve is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors. Steve is married with three children and enjoys classic cars and motorcycles.


Tony Ciriello

Tony Ciriello

Tony is a former college student who was part of the first cohort of Young Business Apprentices back in 2005, which he studied alongside his GCSEs. This included a day at college and a day’s work experience per week at Chamber of Commerce Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Through this course, Tony was awarded Young Business Apprentice of the Year and was delighted to meet England World Cup Winner Sir Geoff Hurst who presented the award. Tony was also shortlisted in the National Young Business Apprentice of the Year competition.

Due to this very positive experience and quality of teaching provided, Tony studied a BTEC National Diploma in Business alongside A levels, before progressing to the University of Birmingham where he studied Business Management with Italian.

He now works for the NHS Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups, commencing in strategy before moving into the Corporate team.

Tony enjoys football and has been involved as a grassroots football coach since 2011. He also wrote for an Italian football website. When not immersed in football, Tony enjoys eating out and cooking, day trips and spending time with family and friends.


Kevin Gaffney

Kevin is Chair of the Audit Committee, a member of the Estates Group and the Equality and Diversity Governor Champion.

Kevin was born in Birmingham and studied geography and history at London University.

After graduation Kevin joined the NHS and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in Public Finance and held several posts as finance director before retiring in 2011.

Kevin has learnt to speak French since retiring and is a season ticket holder at Manchester United, follows Worcester Warriors and enjoys cycling, gardening and cooking.


Peter Heath

Peter is a Staff Governor and a member of the Governance and Search Committee.

Peter is a Lecturer in Higher Education in the Directorate of HE Standards and Professional and is the UCU Chair.


Fiona Hellowell

Fiona is Chair of the Quality Group and is the Governor representative on the College Academic Board.

Fiona started her career in education at the University of Hertfordshire and gained her MBA whilst managing the Business School student support services. She then moved on to become Head of Education & Professional Standards at the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) maintaining the quality of professional qualification standards in the UK and internationally as well as building partnerships with universities and private education providers. More recently she worked at the Higher Education Academy in York developing a professional membership scheme for HE academics.

Fiona was previously a Governor at Oaklands FE College in Hertfordshire and a member of the Independent Advisory Panel for the Worthy Down Defence School (Army). She is a member of the Conduct Panel for Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and is Chairman of Professions Together with a particular interest in continuing professional development.

Fiona is a qualified teacher and a strong supporter of the lifelong benefits achieved by gaining professional qualifications alongside academic ones.


Lucy Hodgson

Lucy Hodgson

Lucy is Vice Chair of the Governance & Search and Audit Committees and the Safeguarding Governor Champion.

Lucy was educated at Whitford Hall School in Bromsgrove and the Alice Ottley School in Worcester. After leaving school Lucy attended Clarendon College in Nottingham studying Hotel and Catering Management. Lucy spent many years in the catering industry and worked in contract catering at BBC Wood Norton, Pebble Mill and the University of Worcester and left the University in 2008.

Lucy has been a Worcester City Councillor since 2003 representing Warndon Villages and was Mayor of Worcester for 2008/09.

In 2009 Lucy was elected to Worcestershire County Council and currently represents the division of Malvern Chase and is the Cabinet Member responsible for Localism and Communities, which includes the Library Service and all the cultural services provided by the County Council.

Lucy is a governor of Lyppard Grange Primary School and an Honorary Vice President of St Paul's Hostel. In her spare time Lucy enjoys cooking and photography and is also a Worcester Warriors season ticket holder.


Tony King

Tony King

Tony is currently Group Treasurer of Sanctuary Group, a Worcester based not for profit housing and care provider.

Following achieving a business qualification from Oxford Polytechnic, he started his career in a London based business information company followed by 15 years in the banking sector in various credit and risk roles which included a period working in Vienna. He joined Sanctuary in 2000 and moved to Worcester when the organisation moved its headquarters here a few years later. He has been involved with the Worcestershire LEP since its inception and is a trustee of an Oxfordshire based children's charity.


Stuart Laverick

Stuart is Principal and Chief Executive and a member of the Governance & Search Committee.

Stuart became Principal and Chief Executive of Heart of Worcestershire (HoW) College on 1 August 2014, on its creation as a result of the merger of Worcester College of Technology with North East Worcestershire College. He was previously CEO/Principal of Worcester College of Technology.

His teaching career started in an 11-19 comprehensive in Derby in the mid-1980s. From there Stuart progressed onto Derby College and then the University. During this time Stuart was involved in consultancy and research in the areas of Marketing/Strategic Management. Missing FE, he returned to the sector as Assistant Principal in Rotherham College of Technology, and then as Vice Principal at East Durham College, before moving to Sunderland College as Deputy Principal/Deputy Chief Executive.

Stuart is a member of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership Board and Finance, Audit and Risk Committee. He has been the West Midlands representative on the Principals Professional Council and its chair.

Stuart is a proactive member of the Association of Colleges’ Technology Special Interest Group. He was instrumental in the formation of the Blended Learning Consortium (BLC), a group of some one hundred Colleges, which HoW College leads.


Paul McCunn

Paul is Chair of the Remuneration Committee.

Originally from Shropshire, Paul was educated at Loughborough Grammar School before reading Economics at Cambridge.

Paul started his career with Lever Brothers, where he qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant. Since then, he has worked for Deloitte and KPMG as a management consultant, advising clients on improving their finance departments and the information they use to run their businesses. In 2007 he moved to Malvern, was appointed a governor of Worcester College of Technology and became a governor of Heart of Worcestershire College following WCT's merger with NEW College. Also in 2007, he joined Hoare Lea, the award-winning firm of consulting engineers, as Director of Finance. More recently, he has had various Interim Finance Director roles: the two he's allowed to mention were at Javelin Group, Europe's leading firm of retail strategy consultants, and the second at MOLA, an archaeological charity, which was the only place he has ever worked where there were human skeletons on half the desks in the office.

In his spare time, Paul is trying to come to terms with an overgrown garden, which he has been battling for many years, spends far too much time walking up and down the Malvern Hills, and has supported AFC Telford United since he saw them beat Hinckley Athletic 1-0 in an FA Cup Qualifying match in 1976.


Debbie Morris

Debbie is a Staff Governor and a member of the Audit Committee.

Debbie is originally from Wiltshire and has lived in Worcester for 18 years. She is a qualified nurse for disabled people and has managed many services in both the public and private sector. Debbie is the Curriculum, Resource and Quality Leader for Special Educational Needs.

Debbie has a Master's Degree in education and has also taught at the University of Worcester.

Debbie’s interests include badminton, politics and history.


Sue Nicholls

Sue Nicholls

Sue was born in Birmingham. She left school at 16 and started working in the motor insurance industry whilst studying for her A-levels at night school at her local college.

Once she achieved her a-levels she decided to become a nurse and trained at Coventry and Warwickshire School of Nursing/Walsgrave Hospital. After she finished her training she worked in Frimley, Surrey and Poole, Dorset before returning to the Midlands. She has lived in Redditch since 2003.

Sue has worked in NHS and private healthcare. She undertook her common professional exam in legal studies and Masters in Law and has used that learning whilst working in areas such as quality, safety, safeguarding and professional nurse leadership.


Robert Pearce

Robert is a member of the Remuneration Committee and Chair of the Estates Group.

Robert is a Chartered Surveyor who worked in Cambridge, London and Birmingham. He has lived in Worcestershire since 1994.

Following his retirement in 2011, he has become involved in a number of voluntary activities including being a member of the English Severn & Wye Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (part of the Environment Agency), Chair of the Diocese of Worcester Parsonages Committee and a member of Broadwas & Cotheridge Parish Council.

On the sporting front Robert actively supports both Worcestershire County Cricket Club and Kidderminster Harriers Football Club.


Nicki Pearsall

Nicki Pearsall

Nicki is the Student Governor for 2018 - 19 (elected by Bromsgrove and Redditch students) and a member of the Governance and Search Committee.

I was born in Sunderland and after many years of overseas travel, through work, I relocated to Redditch where I now live with my family. After spending most of my working life helping other people to make money, through business development, I decided to get back into education and press the re start button for what I actually want to do. I’m currently finishing my first year on the Social Science access course before embarking upon a Social Work degree. I truly believe in equality for all and that everyone should have the same opportunities available to them. My passion is to give a voice to as many people as I possibly can.


Gary Woodman

Gary is a member of the Remuneration Committee.

Gary is the Chief Executive of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership. He is tasked with driving forward Worcestershire LEP and leading an Executive Team to support the WLEP’s ambitions and delivery of the WLEP business plan.

From his former role as Head of Policy and Education at Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, he has brought with him a wealth of business insight and networks as well as considerable experience of Government policy and delivery. Educated at the University of Wales, Cardiff, where he obtained his degree in Leisure and Recreation Management, and the University of Gloucestershire, where he studied for his postgraduate diploma in Business Administration, he previously worked for Gloucestershire County Council’s market towns and economic development arm, overseeing regeneration.


Sue Frost

Sue Frost

Sue is the Clerk to the Corporation.

Sue lives near the Lickey Hills, a beautiful area donated to Birmingham by the Cadbury family. She read History at Newnham College, Cambridge and is a Chartered Accountant. She holds the ICSA Certificate in FE Governance and is a regular contributor to the National Clerks’ Network.

Sue became Clerk to the Corporation whilst looking for a job which used all of her brain for some of the time. She applied for a two day a week job ten minutes down the road with North East Worcestershire College in 2000 which swiftly changed into a larger and more distant role! She was appointed Clerk to the Corporation of Heart of Worcestershire College in 2016, after a two year break from governance, and is the Corporation’s professional adviser.

Sue is active in her local church, where she sings in the choir and is a volunteer Christian Aid Co-ordinator.