The Professional Development Unit provides a wide range of in-house activities and courses to meet the training and development needs of University staff. There will, however, be occasions where it is more appropriate, or necessary, for staff to attend courses, workshops or conferences external to the University.
The Professional Staff Conference Scheme, administered by the Professional Development Unit, exists to assist professional staff to participate in such external activities. The aim of the scheme is to provide assistance for members of professional staff to register for conferences or external workshops that are relevant to their role in the University.
As there is limited funding available, the scheme generally allows for a contribution to the registration fee rather than the full registration amount. In order to spread available funds as widely and equitably as possible, contributions towards the cost of the activity will generally be requested from the applicant's cost centre.
Where cost centres are setting up new projects they should make provision for associated training in their budgets. Conferences and workshops which are specific to particular projects should be funded directly by those projects. If a work area cannot provide all the funds necessary, staff members can apply to the Professional Staff Conference Scheme for assistance.
Who can apply?
The Professional Staff Conference Scheme is open to ALL PROFESSIONAL STAFF employed on a continuing or fixed-term basis. Staff may seek assistance for more than one conference, workshop or course in any 12 month period. However, the total funding allowable per person will be capped at the maximum per grant amount of $700 each calendar year.
Type and level of assistance provided
Successful applicants will receive a grant towards the cost of registration for an approved conference or workshop.
Successful applicants will generally receive the following level of assistance:
- the first $400 of the registration fee (excluding GST), and
- 50% of the difference between $400 and the registration fee up to a maximum registration fee of $1,000
- therefore, the level of assistance provided by the conference scheme is capped at $700 per grant application
If the registration fee is $700 (excluding GST), the Professional Staff Conference Scheme will provide:
- the first $400, plus
- 50% of the remaining registration fee,
i.e. 50% of $300 = $150
Total assistance = $550
If the registration fee is $1,300 (excluding GST), the Professional Staff Conference Scheme will provide:
- the first $400
- 50% of the remaining registration fee up to $1,000 maximum,
i.e. 50% of $600 = $300
Total assistance = $700
The remaining part of the registration fee will need to be funded by the staff member, his/her cost centre, or from another source.
Travel and accommodation costs associated with the conference or workshop will not be covered by the scheme. Applicants should seek assistance for these costs from their cost centre.
How applications will be assessed
Applications will be assessed by the Professional Development Unit in conjunction with the Director, People and Culture. Additional persons will be consulted if this is necessary to ensure that an application receives informed assessment. The assessment criteria include:
- the degree to which the workshop/conference will enhance skills and knowledge leading to demonstrable contribution to the work and productivity of the University;
- benefit to the individual's work area;
- benefit to the individual;
- level of support from supervisor and/or cost centre;
- level of support received by the applicant in the current calendar year;
- any official involvement in the conference eg office bearer or presenting a paper;
- alternatives available, for example is there an equivalent in-house course;
- the University's Equal Opportunity Policies;
- availability of funds.
Applications to attend local programs will be particularly encouraged.
How and when to apply
Applications must be received by the Professional Development Unit BEFORE the workshop or conference takes place. Applicants will be informed before the conference or activity as to whether their application was successful or not. No funding will be provided retrospectively.
Staff members should apply for assistance as early as possible as the funds for this scheme may be expended before the end of the year. Applications for conference funding should be made via the supervisor, and sent to the Professional Development Unit.
To extend the benefits of activities beyond the grant recipient, staff who receive grants will be asked to share information about the staff development activity for which they have received funding with other staff members. Interested staff will be encouraged to contact grant recipients for feedback on programs, access to conference proceedings, etc.
Grant recipients will be required to submit an evaluation of the activity to their supervisor and the Professional Development Unit or, if requested, to provide an information-sharing session for other staff members.