Our Team

Jo Barnard

  • Director

I have been involved in recruitment and training for over twenty years, joining Lucie Clayton in 1997. Lucie Clayton merged with St James's, which in turn joined with Queen's and today we are Quest. I am responsible for leading the Quest team in ensuring that we provide effective, responsive and creative learning opportunities that delight our students. In a competitive, demanding job market we continue to align ourselves with the ever changing requirements of business, delivering to meet the expectations of the employer.

Samantha Dobson

  • Programme Director

I joined the Quest team in 2005 and since then have always taught IT and shorthand across the variety of training programmes that Quest offers. I enjoy training students to the next level, moving away from GCSE and A Level IT training and towards a practical, work place-aligned approach. In March 2011 I joined the Senior Management Team at Quest and am now responsible for overseeing the development of students and providing additional support and individual guidance where needed. I feel very proud when my students leave Quest, armed with all the right ammunition to conquer the job market!

Tom Bishop

  • Trainer

I have been at Quest since 2011 and enjoy my roles training, mentoring and working to help develop the Professional Diploma programmes. I currently deliver training in IT, Business Correspondence and Text Processing, as well as mentoring Professional Diploma students. I’m passionate about education, and though I have also worked in other sectors, I have had the pleasure of holding a variety of roles in post-16 education including teaching at a college in Manchester.






Caryn Russell

  • Trainer

After graduating from The National University of Ireland Galway with a 2.1 Honours Bachelor of Corporate Law Degree and a Post Graduate L.L.B, I began teaching Law, Business and Information Technology in a Youthreach Centre in the Rep. of Ireland. In the second year of my teaching post, I graduated from The National University of Maynooth with a 1st Class Honours Postgraduate Diploma in Education.

Jack Brown

  • Trainer

Since completing my degree in Sport Business Management I have spent several years working in the Learning Development Department of a High School Academy in Northumberland. This entailed in-class support with various special educational needs students, one-to-one tutoring and teaching Numeracy and Literacy to small classes to prepare students for both exams and life after school.

Emma Colville

  • Senior Student and Alumni Consultant

After graduating from Bath Spa with a degree in Media Studies I went on to study on the Graduate Training Programme here at Quest where I fell in love with the organisation. After graduating from Quest I then spent two years working within secretarial and administration positions before embarking on a successful recruitment consultant role. Now, my role here at Quest is to advise students and alumni on different roles and career moves, along with liaising with clients who want to recruit directly from Quest.

Colin Ovenden

  • Trainer

Some 15 years ago, after a successful career in Sales, Marketing and Senior Management within the Telecoms & Consultancy industries, both in the UK and overseas, I moved into the world of Learning & Development. I have designed and delivered Programmes to a wide range of organisations, both local and global, and to audiences ranging from Apprentices to CEO level. At Quest Professional my focus is Business Acumen, instilling our students with an understanding of how business works, how to communicate effectively and how to promote ideas and concepts professionally.

Ella Watts

  • Marketing Executive

Having completed The Professional Diploma at Quest Professional I worked for PwC the largest professional services firm for a year and then had the opportunity to work in Australia. I set up home in Sydney where I worked for a recruitment consultancy. Upon my return to the UK, I have worked in a HR role at Savills specialising in helping graduates get on the career ladder. This has led me to my current job as Marketing Executive at Quest Professional. I am passionate about our programmes and really enjoy spreading the word about Quest Professional. With first-hand experience of the training, I know how valuable the skills taught are and I can't wait to help others start their QP journey.


Kate Blackshaw

  • Trainer

I have been affiliated to the company for over twenty years. My background in performing arts, particularly as a voice-over artist and actor, form the basis of the programmes I now present at Quest. Current research shows that one of the most significant factors in a successful career is the understanding of ourselves and others; agencies and employers are putting more and more emphasis on these vital life skills. Through our bespoke Personal Development programme Quest trainees are introduced to the concepts of emotional intelligence and the critical importance of effective communication.

Bassam El-Homsi

  • Trainer

As one of the longest-serving trainers, I have had an extremely interesting career in delivering IT training at Quest. I enjoy converting students’ opinions of IT, helping them to progress from disinterest and uncertainty to becoming passionate and confident IT program users. As part of the IT team, I constantly update my courses to match the developments in technology and the advancing skills of our students due to social networking sites and their previous IT education. Quest alumni always report how beneficial IT training is in regards to their career progression, and I am extremely proud to be able to have had a part in this.

Dominique Kolimechkov

  • Trainer

Since graduating from Queen's University, Belfast, I have built up a variety of industry experience. My first role involved business administration and event management within a law firm in Brussels, where I worked closely with the European Institutions. From here I progressed to managing conferences and then transferred my event skills into the financial sector. Working in the Financial Markets Education Department at UBS and EBRD widened my knowledge of finance and banking. Taking my personal experience and keeping on top of continual changes within these industry areas has led me to Economics & Business Finance, Current Affairs and Event & Project Management sessions that are accessible at every level and relevant in the workplace.

Gavin Hamilton

  • Trainer

With a background in corporate PR (Tokyo) and inward investment and trade consultancy (London) I have been a teacher for five years - by far the most rewarding part of my professional career! I deliver Current Affairs and Cultural Studies courses aimed at building awareness of contemporary issues and applying this knowledge to the workplace.

Janes Fallon

  • Trainer

After a successful career in marketing and operations for a range of UK and international organisations over 20+ years, I decided to move into the world of training and education. In industry I led initiatives to train and develop the leaders of tomorrow and it felt a natural progression to work with graduates at Quest Professional to help them gain the confidence and skills they would need in the workplace to develop and pitch well thought through ideas that will have an impact in the workplace. I lead an exciting programme (accredited by the ILM) that instils teamwork, critical thinking, analysis, and communication and presentation skills and builds confidence in the student’s own ability to pitch new ideas to a panel of experts at the end of the programme.

Sheridan Mangal

  • Trainer

After 16 years at the London Stock Exchange, my career progressed to key roles within major financial houses in the UK, USA, mainland Europe and the Far East. I have also authored and lectured on Business Systems and Data Management, maintaining strong academic links with several universities where I provide talks on “The Markets” and also help with student career preparation. With 35 years of financial markets behind me, I now spend time as an active Trader, business owner and Trainer. As the latter, I have worked with Quest on many occasions, over the past two years introducing students to the dynamics of financial trading, commercial enterprise and the rigours of business planning, always revealing and exposing students to the “real-world” practices and challenges. I also keep close to social and community issues, running several voluntary initiatives focused on youth advancement.

Liz Barnes

  • Trainer

I have enjoyed a fulfilling career centred around two key disciplines: Marketing and Learning & Development. I am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and a Chartered Marketer having taught CIM qualifications for many years. I am able to combine my teaching role at Quest Professional with some consultancy, marketing services and training for private clients - a great way to keep up-to-date with professional practice across many industries. I have a degree in Food Science, Economics and Marketing and a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing. I am passionate about Continuting Professional Development (CPD) and my training programmes provide great opportunities for young people, aspiring commercial professionals and business owners to learn new skills and enhance their careers.

Emma Samengo-Turner

  • Trainer

I have always worked in the fashion industry, starting off in Harpers Bazaar and then moving onto Polo Ralph Lauren. With Ralph Lauren I arranged all of the company's fashion and customer events in the UK. I have been an image consultant working with private clients and also at Quest for just over four years. I really enjoy giving confidence to the students by guiding them towards an individual business style and helping with any image concerns. As the saying goes, ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’ and with our students constantly going out for interviews, image consultancy remains a small, yet important component of the Quest schedule.

Edward Blankson

  • Trainer

Having began my professional career in 2000 at GE Capital Bank as a Management Accountant, I soon went on to manage larger teams for well known companies such as Philips Consumer Electronics, Computer Patent Annuities Ltd, Telmar Holdings Group Ltd and Touch Group Plc (Touchlocal.com) working as Finance Manager. I joined FundWorks as the Group Head of Finance & HR in July 2008 running projects for HSBC, Schroders, and M&G. With many years of finance experience, I became Finance Director at Alternative Investment Asset Management and Amstel Securities NV in 2011. My focus at Quest Professional is to share my knowledge and experience of finance to help develop the student’s understanding within the sector.

Natalie Wood

  • Careers Advisor

Since graduating from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in Geography & Psychology, I went on to join the Graduate Training Programme at Quest Professional which gave me the skills and confidence to thrive in the workplace. After graduating from Quest, I spent 5 years working at Marsh & Parsons in a secretarial and managerial position, and then within HR and Recruitment. I recently became CIPD qualified in HR and decided to join Quest in August 2015 as a trainer to teach Careers and HR to the students. I really enjoy mentoring and guiding the students to get them their first job and seeing them develop in the workplace!

Alice Short

  • Student and Alumni Consultant

After graduating from the University of East Anglia with a degree in English Literature, I came to Quest Professional to study on the Graduate Training Programme. I really enjoyed my time at Quest and was so pleased to be offered the position of Student and Alumni Consultant here upon finishing the course. My role is incredibly varied from developing new career opportunities for both current and past students to offering support and careers guidance to them. I really enjoy working with the students and alumni, as well as working within the Quest team!

Kelly Harding

  • Digital Operations Manager

I started teaching English in 1997 and then got involved in online teaching and IT in 2004. I speak Spanish well, French badly and keep trying to learn Hawaiian, but I think I will need to go there for at least one year to study it properly!

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