Paul Bowen - Street Scene Operative at Stafford Borough Council
If you are looking for a nice comfy desk job in a warm office - this is not the job for you. If you crave fresh air, love to be active, enjoy meeting residents and aren’t too squeamish then it just might be.
I’m Paul and I’m on my way to see an 80 year old lady about a problem she’s having with mice in her living room and she’s terrified of them. She’s making me a cuppa and I know the conversation will be as appreciated as the pest control service I provide.
I see all sorts. Rats in the roofs of £1M homes; rats don’t care how expensive your house is, if they see an opening, they will get in. Fleas so embedded into one house, it needed spraying three times, the place was a state. Bed bugs too, and very nasty if you are allergic to them, as was the case in a recent call out.
Most of my week is spent keeping the parks and streets clean rather than dealing with pests. Last weekend I was litter picking along the streets and in the town centres and I can easily clock up 10,000 steps in my working day. People are always pleased to see me and do appreciate that I’m keeping the town and streets clean and litter free. I help look after bowling greens too, keeping the grass cut and watered, quite a challenge in the hot summer we’ve just had. I’m a real lawn expert after a four year course in Turf Science, and previous to that horticulture, starting as an apprentice.
I’ve been with the council 19 years and what’s kept me here is being appreciated by residents and supported by the council. Previously I worked for a private golf course and I just didn’t feel valued. I love the variety in my role, and I’m constantly learning, there’s new legislation all the time that I get trained up on. For example bees are now an endangered species so we only intervene to remove a nest if it’s causing a real danger, for example outside a school. I try and educate people on how to live with the bees rather than removing them.
I’ve got a really good work life balance even though I choose to work long hours. When my children have been ill, the council have been so supportive. I feel valued here and get to make a difference every day in my community.
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