After graduating in urban and regional planning from Coventry University in 1998 Mike Kerton landed his first job at Cotswold District Council. He spent four years in planning policy before moving to North Cornwall District Council as a senior planner in policy. Two years later he moved to Truro-based housebuilder Rosemullion Homes and then to Persimmon Homes in Exeter. Four years ago he joined Bloor Homes, rising to planning director 18 months ago.
Q. What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them?
We build between 400 and 450 units a year and I have to ensure the company achieves its annual targets and make sure planning consents come through it a timely manner to meet the needs of our construction team. We have regular appraisals but it's as much about meeting yearly objectives like building up a longer-term land bank.
What key lessons have you learned during your career that help you to fulfil those objectives?
A. Work with the community. This is especially so given the localism agenda, so reach out to he 'silent majority' – often younger people in the community keen to get on the housing ladder.
Learn from your experience. I've been lucky in my career to work with people who have achieved a lot across disciplines, and it's as important to learn from these personal experiences as it is from books and lessons in the classroom.
Don't be afraid to seize opportunities. It's important as a planner to have a balanced view of development objectives; I became poacher-turned-gamekeeper when I moved from local authority to private practice but it helped me understand other people's jobs and respect their roles.