For many people, there is a stigma around adding their details on the redeployment register. While we acknowledge that the register is not perfect, we argue in the first part of this two-post series that not using it is a missed opportunity. The following stories show that surmounting our reluctance towards this excel spreadsheet can prove to be highly rewarding.
Dr Kathryn Nash, Chancellor’s Fellow, School of Law:
“My first three years at University of Edinburgh were on fixed-term research contracts. The Law School has always been very supportive. For instance, my PI worked to keep staff employed and foster professional development, and the research office provided excellent support on grant applications. However, given the amount of time it takes for grants to be evaluated and positions to be approved, there were times when I came close to the end of my contract without a clear idea of what would happen next.
One way that I tried to secure further employment at the University was through the talent register. I filled out the form not expecting much to come from it. However, to my surprise I received an email from Professor Iain Woodhouse in the School of GeoSciences. They were starting a project to understand climate and security vulnerabilities and did not expect to find a person on the talent register with the necessary skills. However, they thought my mix of peace and security and Africa-specific expertise might be a good fit for an interdisciplinary team. As it happened, my post-doc contract in the Law School was extended after receiving additional funding. However, this did not end my discussions with the School of GeoSciences. It led to me being included as a named researcher on a DDI application related to climate security. This provided an opportunity for me to participate on a nearly 18-month interdisciplinary project with United Nations partners and to make numerous academic connections with scholars in science and technology. And Professor Woodhouse then used the Redeployment Register to fill subsequent positions.
Going into my experience with the talent register, I was in a similar position of many early career, precarious academics who did not have high hopes. However, I was surprised at not only the possibility of a position but the realisation of a long-term interdisciplinary collaboration.”
Research associate, College of Medecine and Veterinary Medecine:
“I first learnt about the talent register (now redeployment register, RR) when it was decided my position as a research associate was not to be renewed and my line manager at the time suggested I try the RR. I was initially quite sceptical, especially as there wasn’t a great deal of information on the RR webpage, many of my peers had not heard of it and there was only a short example of what information to supply. However, I thought it was worth a shot and completed the form with details of my skills and experience along with my ideal working patterns . I also submitted a CV for HR to forward to potentially interested recruiters. I specifically tailored the CV to job roles I was looking for; I was happy to try both administration as well as research roles.
Shortly, I received a couple of phone call enquiries from recruiters who had seen my profile. After learning more about one position as an administrator, I arranged to meet them; a good opportunity to learn about them and their team. This meeting led to them offering me the role which I accepted. The team was friendly and the work was in science administration so quite different to my previous research role, but I was keen to try something new and to develop my skill set. I thought the role was a good stepping stone to other opportunities because it was still close to science research, just a different side of it. The role was short term (about 6 months) so I was soon back on the RR.
Whilst on the RR the second time, it was slower but a few enquiries came through. One required a more detailed CV and covering letter, which I duly provided, but frustratingly never had any response, which I found disheartening. However, a more suitable role turned up back in research and after reading the job description I felt this was a good opportunity for me. There was a potential for me to learn technical skills I had not previously had the chance to learn, but that were often listed on job applications I had been exploring so I was keen to meet the potential employer. After we met in person, they offered me the position, which I was pleased to accept.
I ended up working with that group for nearly 5 years – the initial post had only been for 2.5 years –until, unfortunately, funding for my role ran out. This time I had no hesitation in going back on the RR because it had been successful in the past for me. And luckily for me, another group was looking for someone with my experience and skillsThe role, however, was full time whereas I had indicated part time but it looked ideal and they were willing to meet. After meeting, the line manager was keen to offer the position to me and we were able to negotiate the hours I would work. I have now been in the position for over 3 years and am very much enjoying the role. The post has allowed me to develop more skills including technical and people management, which will help me even further in my career.
The RR, whilst I was initially scared and sceptical, has worked very successfully for me. I am not certain why, but I have always tried to put in quite a range of specific skills and techniques. I have also been sure to have specific CVs for the different roles e.g. administration vs research. Whilst I may not always have had quite the full skill set, employers have been open minded and willing to meet with me after seeing my profile, to discuss and see if I have the potential to fill their vacancy.”
 Although preferred work patterns are provided by staff at risk of being made redundant, they are not included in the RR.