Award Crest
York College

SMT Organisational Poster WEB

Dr Alison Birkinshaw OBE - Principal and Chief Executive

I took up this post in January 2008 having previously been Principal at Nelson and Colne College. Prior to that, I was Deputy Principal at another Lancashire College, Runshaw. 

I feel privileged to be Principal of such a fine college, rated Outstanding by Ofsted (December 2013) and currently the No.1 GFE College in Yorkshire. I am enormously proud of our students and their achievements and feel honoured to work with such a talented staff team who deliver first-class teaching in a superb learning environment. My greatest reward is seeing our students progress either to Higher Education or employment, knowing that York College has helped them progress to the next stage of their careers, allowing them to fulfil their ambitions.

When I am not working I enjoy spending time playing the bassoon and contrabassoon, walking in the Lakes or by the coast, swimming or going to opera and the theatre. I was delighted and surprised to be awarded an OBE in 2012 and an honorary doctorate from York University in 2017, both for services to education.

Louise Doswell - Deputy Principal Resources

I have worked in Further Education since 1999 primarily focussing on Employer and Adult Learning. I took up the post of Assistant Principal for Employer Engagement at York College in February 2008 with responsibility for Apprenticeships, Workplace Learning and Commercial Training. Prior to taking up this post at York College I spent eight years at Darlington College working on many projects with employers, schools and the army.

In my present role I have overall responsibility for Information Systems and Services, Human Resources, Health Safety and Welfare, Management Information Systems, Administration Services, Estates and Timetabling.

Living in North Yorkshire, I enjoy walking, playing golf, scuba diving and gardening. 

Graeme Murdoch - Deputy Principal QA and Support

I have worked at York College since October 2003. Prior to that I spent 20 years working in land-based colleges. My role is to coordinate and manage Quality Assurance and the Support Divisions of the College, ensuring York College is at the top of its game in these respects. I like to have a high profile around the College and keep in touch with as many people as I can, because it is ‘good to talk'.

In my spare time I am keen on sports (more watching than doing these days), and a little bit of trivia for you ... I own a 1963 Ford Super Dexta Tractor (which still works). 


David Hawkins - Executive Director of Finance

I joined York College in June 2018 having previously spent nearly 10 years at Sandwell College in the West Midlands. Prior to that, I spent over 20 years in senior finance roles in the private sector, mainly working in housebuilding and construction.

My role is to provide a pro-active lead on all financial matters in the College, to enable the necessary investment and support for our students.

Away from College, I enjoy playing and watching most sports (I still just manage to beat my 20 year old son at badminton), and walking my not so bouncy 13 year old springer spaniel.


Sharon Smith - Deputy Principal Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Development

I have worked in FE since 1993 and, prior to joining York College in August 2017, I held senior management positions at Calderdale College and The Sheffield College. As an ex-vocational student who flourished in further education, my teaching background is in Leisure and Tourism and Health and Social Care.

I feel very privileged to join York College and in my role of Deputy Principal I will be responsible for continuous improvement in the quality of teaching and learning, student outcomes and curriculum development and innovation, so we can continue to meet the needs of students and make a difference to their lives and futures.  

In my spare time I enjoy walking in the countryside with my husband and Labrador and like camping and holidaying in Scotland. I also like to read fiction when I have time including thrillers, horror and science fiction. 


Glyn Jones - Vice Principal Academic and Applied

I have worked at York College since 1996. I was previously in charge of Biology, at the then York Sixth Form College, and then Science. I take a keen interest in our links with local partners, including the University of York, Hull York Medical School, York Cultural Education Partnership, York Music Hub and the Company of Merchant Taylors. I previously taught at a sixth form college in East London and, before going into teaching, I worked as an environmental scientist and as a professional skydiver and aerial photographer.

As an Assistant Principal for 10 years I was responsible for A Levels; I am very proud of our students’ achievements and our strong reputation as one of the top performing FE Colleges in the country for A Levels. I now also oversee our 16-18 Level 3 vocational provision, which offers a wonderful range of routes for students to progress to either higher education or employment.

I live in York and am married with two daughters and a dog. In what little spare time is left me, I enjoy playing guitar, running, cycling and photography. 


Nikki Davis - Vice Principal Technical and Professional

I began work at York College in August 2015, following a career that has included roles at Kirklees, Leeds and Calderdale Colleges. Prior to working in Further Education, my background is in hospitality and business management.

In my role as Vice Principal Technical and Professional, I am responsible for the college's apprenticeship provision, technical qualifications including the development of T levels and ensuring as many students as possible have access to high quality work placements. I am also leading on the collaborative bid to become an Institute of Technology.

Outside of College, I have two children and a Labrador so we spend a lot of time outdoors, walking and cycling, with the occasional stop for treats.