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Steve Markham from STM Quality on Corporate Social Responsibility

24 August 2020

Steve Markham is the Founder of STM Quality which has been trading for 14 years, specialising in contract quality, including implementing management systems such as ISO 14001. The main sector STM Quality operates in is the automotive industry, with Steve having worked closely with the North East Automotive Alliance. 


Steve has dedicated much of his time as a STEM ambassador, helping to inspire the future workforce. He believes that companies should be socially responsible for many reasons including stakeholder scrutiny, societal expectation, enhanced business reputation amongst community and peers, and the opportunity to attract and retain workers whose morale is improved and customers who welcome a socially responsible service provider. 


Stakeholder scrutiny is mainly appropriate to larger organisations, but all companies need to act in a socially responsible manner, for example by working in a ‘green’ way. This even extends to supermarkets who strive to use less packaging to protect their customer reputation. 

Allowing staff to take part in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity really helps to boost morale and it ensures workers feel confident that their company is more socially responsible. 


There is an ISO standard for CSR – ISO 26000 - which businesses can use. This is a guideline and is intended for all organisations regardless of size. It is built around seven core principles: governance; human rights; labour practices; the environment; fair operating practices; consumer issues; and community involvement and development, the latter of which Steve has taken on in relation to his own small business.


Steve stated 

“An organisation’s decision-making process and structures should enable it to develop strategies, objectives and targets that reflect its commitment to social responsibility” 


This taken directly from ISO 26000 guidance. In relation to Steve’s own commitment and CSR target, he has set an hour-per-week of time dedicated to STEM activities. Guidance suggests you should have a policy that is freely available which Steve has already put in place. 


There is a huge variety of STEM-related activities that businesses could get involved in. Prior to lockdown, Steve took part in ‘careers speed dating’ activities which included speaking to students with quickfire questions to give them a better understanding of skills and knowledge required in the workplace. Another popular activity for Steve was CV building which focuses on encouraging older students to look at skills they have developed over their time in school. This can then lead into a mock interview in readiness for a real interview and helps students to get prepared for the real thing. Steve also got involved, and found Dragons’ Den activity great fun, with students given an everyday object, like a bicycle wheel, and tasked with coming up with a novel way of using it. Students then pitch that idea to the ‘Dragons’ to get them on board with the new product. 


Since Covid-19 delivery has changed in many ways with much more reliance on online and virtual experiences. Activities have included webinars and opportunities to record YouTube videos. Steve has developed a YouTube channel containing many of his own videos and resources, including short Q&A films featuring students in conversation with STEM professionals and ambassadors. These are aimed at students of all ages.


To date Steve has been a prolific STEM Ambassador due to his efforts and dedication to supporting education and young people. This culminated recently to a certificate of achievement from STEM Learning outlining his 50 hours of engagement in the last academic year.  As stated above Steve’s willingness to set himself and his business stringent targets has ensured he has reached his engagement goals even in these tough and testing times and provides him with the knowledge that he and his business has impacted greatly on the life chances of our regional young people.  


Watch Steve’s the full talk here: 



About North East Ambition

North East Ambition is an education and skills programme delivered by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership that supports all schools and colleges in the North East to achieve the Gatsby Good Career Guidance Benchmarks by 2024.

Working in partnership with education and industry, it aims to ensure each and every young person in the North East has access to quality careers education. www.northeastambition.co.uk

For more information about North East Ambition and how it can help your company, contact neambition@rtcnorth.co.uk or the STEM team at 01915164400


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