Meet our Board Members - Graham Clayton
With a background in accounting and finance, and almost 30 years teaching in higher education under his belt, Graham brings a great deal of experience to the PCH Board.
Graham grew up in Kent and after leaving school he completed a geography degree at London University. He then worked for, and qualified with, a large international firm of accountants in London. Whilst enjoying many aspects of that job Graham did not see himself doing it long-term and decided on a change of career.
After completing a Post-graduate Certificate in Education at Goldsmiths College he worked as a lecturer in accounting and finance at an FE college in Kent. From the outset Graham really enjoyed teaching and moved to another college a year later, spending, in total, nine very happy years in FE. However, he found that, latterly, he had become more involved with administration and less with actual teaching. So, when an opportunity to lecture at Plymouth University (Polytechnic South West as was) arose, he jumped at it.
Graham loved working at the university, spending 26 years there, before retiring two years ago. He taught a range of subjects within the accounting and business degrees, but in later years he concentrated on business finance.
Graham was the Franchise Manager for Plymouth Business School (PBS) for three years. This involved liaising with lecturing staff at colleges across the South West (such as City College Plymouth) to maintain quality standards. In 2000, he was appointed as a Teaching Fellow of the university and this meant that he held a responsibility for the enhancement of teaching quality within the Business School. A wide variety of roles in PBS followed and these helped Graham to develop personal skills which would later be useful to him as a PCH board member.
The Board Member position came to Graham’s attention as the Board were looking for someone with accounting and finance skills: “This was my background although I wasn’t overly experienced with social housing. My first board meeting was quite a daunting experience - social housing is a very complex sector and PCH is a large, important player within it.
“The political environment around social housing is quite volatile and PCH has shown that we can deal with unforeseen difficulties. For instance, just before I joined the Board the UK government announced that rents would be cut by 1% per annum for the next four years and, more recently, there was the Grenfell fire which could yet prove to have a significant impact on PCH’s finances.“
Graham’s proudest achievement with PCH so far brings a smile to his face: “I was a member of the finance committee that dealt with the negotiations when PCH restructured our long-term capital requirements and costs. We were looking 40 years ahead and hopefully the committee’s work with enable us to achieve our aims over that period.”
For the past 15 years Graham has been an examiner for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. This means regular trips to London to meet the examining team and he writes two finance papers a year.
Graham is a keen sportsman and these days plays cricket and tennis at clubs near to his home in South Devon. Also, he and his wife have been drivers for a local community transport organisation for many years. So since retirement he’s kept himself busy and he has found working with PCH to be a stimulating and enjoyable new experience.
So what does Graham see for the future of PCH?
“I think that the future for PCH looks very good – we are an extremely well run organisation and our staff are committed to our residents – their safety, comfort and satisfaction are paramount. I’m really enjoying my work with PCH and I hope to serve on the Board for a good time yet.”