Top job: Bernard Perry, director of human resources, West Hertfordshire College

Where were you working before, and what were your duties?

I was director of Chaltonderry, a people development consultancy. I delivered a range of human resources (HR) solutions and interim management to clients in the public, private, further and higher education sectors.

What qualifications do you hold?

An MA in HR management and a Chartered MCIPD DMS.

What are the duties in your new role?

I report to the principal and chief executive. I will contribute to the corporate management of the college, delivering an effective HR service. There are 12 people including me in the team.

What are the main challenges HR faces in the next five years?

Continuing to recruit, retain, performance manage and develop staff to deliver objectives.

What are the essential tools in your job?

A thick skin, a sense of humour, and supportive colleagues.

And the most overrated?

Irrelevant standards.

What is the worst thing about HR?

Managers not managing their staff, and claiming it is HR’s responsibility.

What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?

When I was an office junior at an organisation, a VIP came to the workplace. They parked in a large multi-storey car park nearby, but could not find their car when they left. I was sent to locate it. By chance, I did.

Who is your ultimate hero?

My dad. His desire to help his family achieve cost him greatly. Sadly, he didn’t live long enough to be proud of us all.

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?

‘Human capital’.

How do you fill your spare time?

Watching Luton Town Football Club.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Approachable, resilient and supportive.

What song gets you on the dance floor?

Brown-Eyed Girl, by Van Morrison.

What is your worst habit?

Forgetting people’s names. Is that a habit?

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Going self-employed. It was great, but scary at first.

What three items would you take to a desert island?

My wife, our family and our cats.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with?

A former manager – one of the most unpleasant people you could wish to meet.

Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.

Try and enjoy it, and try to ensure everyone else does too.


  • Oct 2007-present
    Director of HR, West Hertfordshire College (further education and life-long learning)
  • Oct 2005-Oct 2007
    Director of people development, Chaltonderry (HR consultancy)
  • Jun 2002-Oct 2005
    Assistant director HR, East Hertfordshire Council
  • Apr 2000-Jun 2002
    Head of HR, East Hertfordshire Council

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