E78 - Ste Ashton at Worcestershire County Council

James Dean
Ste Ashton

By James Dean & Ste Ashton

Our Director James Dean was joined by Ste Ashton on the 78th episode of The Route to Networking podcast. Ste is currently leading Broadband, 5G and wider connectivity for the Worcestershire County Council whilst working as the Business Lead at NexGworx. Ste discusses the work he is currently doing surrounding 5G, and private 5G networks and why they have been introduced.

Ste started at university doing a Sports Science and Geography degree and his first job was as a Lifeguard and Gym Instructor. He got a buzz working off pressure and deadlines, so he went into Project Management and Event Management. After his 2nd child was born, he found out his eldest had learning difficulties so he decided that he could still be around his kids and do something he enjoyed. This is when he took the role at the Worcestershire County Council doing Project Management. NexGworx followed shortly after through the 5G project they were doing at the WCC.

Although his university degree wasn’t related to his current industry, he did a lot of volunteer work while studying. This is something he highly recommends people do because he was given the training opportunities and was able to meet people he would’ve never crossed paths with otherwise. This developed his softer skills which are important in his current role.

“His Worcestershire County Council Hat” …

When he’s working at WCC, he wants to see both residents and businesses benefit from their work. They help them understand the technology they offer so that everyone can use it. He likes to see the positive impact it has on the community.

“His NexGworx Hat” …

At NexGworx, they work with industry 4.0 so this is heavily involved with the health and social care vertices. These sectors can test the 5G network and play around with it without it breaking. They can also go to these places and put up a 5G network for them.

Although they are heavily involved with the 5G network, they aren’t bound to 5G, and they do a lot of work with advanced networks as well.

What concerns Ste most about the industry at the moment is the massive overhype. Going back to 2016 when he first found out what 5G was going to do, what stood out to him is they were saying 5G was going to provide 1milisecond of latency, which is not the case. You might find you can get it down to 8-10 milliseconds, but they aren’t as low as they were making it out to be. He finds the overhype dangerous and needs to be looked at.

What he’s seen when delivering health and social care applications to care homes is there’s a lot of the older generation that have a great interest in tech and equally teens with no interest in tech. So, it is down to the individual. Saying this, as a society, we are a lot more tech-dependent than we used to be back when he was younger.

If you’re looking for career advice, Ste suggests keeping your options open. Since he started, he has changed around so much so you mustn’t stay in one lane because you may want to change around. Do what interests you, follow what you’re passionate about and take every opportunity.

Ste delves into the skills gap that it’s in the industry and talks about what we should be doing to bridge that gap. Tune in now to hear the full story!