Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Ambassador Steve Green, Electrical Jointer on the Surrey Street Lighting contract at Milestone, recently sat down with us to talk about his experience and his passion in STEM.

Tell us more about your STEM activities!

I love going into schools and talking about the work we do at Milestone. I’ve done six or seven practical demonstrations now and am looking forward to doing many more in the future. Electricity is such a passion of mine that I’ve even set up and created experiments outside work to bring into schools. An example of a practical task we demonstrate to students is where I recreate a live working scenario, a test meter showing 1000 volts is connected to a length of cable, we then allow the students to cut the cable wearing full PPE like you would have to in a real-life situation.

Students are much more engaged when they have the chance to get stuck into the work rather than listening to a presentation.

I like to interact with those students that are shyer and wouldn’t usually get involved. A great way to encourage them to give things a go is taking a different angle. For example, with the cable cutting I made it seem like a competition between the two shy girls in the class – whoever could cut the wire the fastest and safest won the challenge.

Another activity I did was finding old cables from the 1900s and asked the students to compare them to modern day cables. The students were absolutely fascinated!

As well as this, I’ve done other work in schools as part of a team such as removing an unused swimming pool from a school to increase the size of the playground, enabling the school to get equipment that will be more useful to them.

How do you find your role here at Milestone?

Milestone is a great place to work – I love the fact that I get to connect street furniture etc to the electricity network and inspire the younger generation into potentially following in my footsteps. My role can be challenging, varied, and fun.

What do you find challenging about it?

A big part of the role is helping people understand why the work we are doing is needed and how it will benefit the public in the long run, even if there is some slight disruption while we complete the work. Due to the nature of the work, what we do can cause some disruption as we often need to block paths and close roads, setting up traffic control too which can cause frustration. I do totally understand the frustration and I always make an effort to talk to members of the public and explain the situation calmly. In my role, I get to have some really great conversations and make connections with the local people.

How do you generally go about overcoming the challenges?

I think making the effort to explain what we do and why goes a long way. People appreciate communication. Once, a lady was upset because we were doing work outside her house which caused her inconvenience. I listened and understood her concerns. Once she knew someone was hearing her, she was very kind and understanding and the conversation ended in a compromise – we adjusted our street lighting plan to help prevent disruption.

What type of work do you get up to day to day?

A typical day can involve receiving my work instructions then attending site, undertaking a site-specific risk assessment, disconnecting, transferring, or installing new electrical supplies into the street furniture assets. I will liaise with clients on site, council employees and subcontractors or individuals who we are working on behalf of. Live electricity presents its own dangers, so it is important that all works are undertaken in line with our safe working procedures and to a high standard.

What do you enjoy most about the role?

The work is really satisfying because a lot of it is about problem solving and overcoming issues. I love a challenge so it’s perfect for me. I’ve worked in the industry for around 27 years and then for Milestone since the beginning (May 2021) I also got my son Paul Green, now a Supervisor on the Milestone Surrey Street lighting contract, interested in the industry and trained him up. I taught him the ropes from a young age, and it was a proud feeling knowing he wanted to follow in my footsteps.

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