Find out more about Nikki Donald , our new Senior Organisational and Workforce Development Officer, in the interview below.
I began working life in the Procurator Fiscal’s office in Edinburgh as a team supervisor in charge of witness citations. It was an eye opening role which cemented me into the public sector knowing that my work supported the people on the front line who were providing assistance to those who had been exposed to some really unpleasant circumstances but also to some of the more vulnerable people in our communities.
I joined Lothian and Borders Police in 2001 as a Fleet Administrator where I managed logistics for the G8 operation in 2005 and for Vin Diesel and his team when the MTV Awards came to Edinburgh in 2003. Working with physical resources rather than people didn’t really suit me, so I took on the role of Police Recruitment Manager right before Alex Salmond promised an extra 1,000 police officers on Scotland’s streets. I was responsible for bringing new recruits into the Force through a ten part recruitment process, and seeing them through an intensive induction course (which involved me role playing as a criminal, and also having to escort the probationers to the city morgue to observe post mortems in a controlled environment – a very varied role!).
After a reorganisation of the function, I moved into the role of Career Development Advisor which involved the development, specialist training and promotion of police officers. After a number of restructures and changes to my title, mainly due to the advent of Police Scotland, a new Chief Superintendent came in to head up the team in 2017 and decided to reorganise and move the team once again, which broadened my remit to include all things development for officers and staff. I was now a Leadership and Talent Consultant (but they wouldn’t give me the big red button for my desk), in a centralised team based at the Scottish Police College in Kincardine.
I live in Dalkeith, so the trip along the city bypass, M8 and M9 every day during rush hour was not an easy option. When the pandemic hit, all ‘non-essential’ staff were no longer allowed in the college, so I was asked if I could go to our call centre in Bilston to answer 101 calls to cover the staff who were shielding. This was the start of my realisation that I didn’t have to travel an 85 mile round trip every day to support the front line, but also that the front line included far more than police officers when I was taking calls from staff and patients in hospitals and care homes, social workers and also vulnerable people who had been isolated from the world. Twelve months later I was successful in my application for this post.
I have created myself an ever expanding to-do list and really looking forward to putting it all in place. I like hearing about what the people who I support need and want, which is why I have sent out a survey to all of the staff (although would have preferred a lot more face-to-face meetings than the Teams meetings I’ve been having). This way I can make sure that everyone is getting something relevant that they are enjoying the development they are getting rather than getting something just because it’s always been that way.
I used to enjoy gardening which really helped me with my mindfulness, but then we got a wee pug, Joti, who just ate all the plants! I have now dug up all of the plants and found them new homes. I find swimming also helps with mindfulness, and keeping me active but much preferred it when I could turn up at the pool any time I wanted rather than having to plan and book it days in advance. On sunny days that I’m not at work I like to combine two of my other hobbies by walking (the healthy/active part) with my husband to the Sun Inn and sampling some of their many different gins on their river terrace.