Career Catalyst

Applications have closed for 2024.

Key dates for 2025 will be announced in the first half of 2025.

Man working at desk

Career Catalyst is our Professional Staff Development Fund that supports staff in their continued workplace development within the University and is available for approved professional development activities.

The fund supports development opportunities in addition to programs already offered by the University through the Professional Learning Calendar, and other University work units.

The fund supports professional development activities, identified through the annual performance management and career development process, which align with University goals and priorities and will be of mutual benefit to the staff member and the University.

Assistance Available

Funds will be allocated through an application process facilitated through HR Services. Funds are expected to cover the entire costs of the activity or program.  Where approval is sort for external face-to-face activities, costs are to include reasonable associated travel and accommodation. 

Staff may be required to contribute to the cost of their participation where the cost of the activity or program exceeds the financial limit as designated by the University Executive (up to a maximum of $5,000 but may vary from time to time) or where personal accreditation is provided due to completion of the program. Awarded funds must be spent within 12 months.


Application Process

Applicants are to submit the following documents to [email protected] by 5pm of the due date:

  • Career Catalyst application form (including signed approval from supervisor)
  • Copy of the Providers Official Outline for the activity and confirmation of the cost of the activity
  • Copy of current signed Performance Review Plan (or summary of conversation with supervisor)

Career Catalyst Application Criteria

Eligibility: The applicant must be a professional staff member at Southern Cross University. Preference will be given to first time applicants and those who have not received approval in the previous 2 years. Preference will be given to continuing and fixed term staff.

Ineligible activities: Tertiary courses leading to formal qualifications are supported through other policies and programs and do not form part of this program. Conference attendance is out of scope for Career Catalyst support.

Alignment with Professional Development Goals: The proposed development opportunity should align with the staff member's professional development goals, enabling them to acquire new skills, knowledge, or experiences that are relevant to their role. Wherever possible, this should reflect PRP conversations and/or career aspirations which are supported by the applicant’s leaders.

Strategy and Values Alignment: The application should demonstrate how the proposed opportunity aligns with the University’s Southern Cross University Strategic Plan. It should contribute to the University's purpose, goals and priorities, and align with the University's Values; We Strive for Excellence, We are Bold, We Care, We Own It and We Build Trust Through Action. Consideration will be given to ‘clusters’ of applications from within the same Faculty or Work Units to ensure even distribution of support.

Financial Feasibility: The proposed opportunity should fall within the one-off allocated funding limit which is, variably, up to $5000 per staff member for staff development. This may include reasonable and associated costs (e.g. resources, travel, accommodation) which will be considered in context (e.g. online or in-person participation).

Potential Impact and Transferability: The application should articulate the potential impact the opportunity will have on the staff member's professional growth, job performance, team effectiveness and contribution to the University. The skills and knowledge gained through the opportunity should be transferable to the staff member's current role or potential future roles within the University.

Career Advancement: The proposed opportunity should support the staff member's career advancement, whether it's through acquiring new skills, certifications, attending relevant conferences, or participating in workshops and training programs. The current/future service period of continuing and fixed-term professional staff will be considered in the evaluation of the application, as will the recency of previous professional development activities. For example, one successful application within every three years may apply.

Feasibility and Practicality: The application should demonstrate the feasibility and practicality of the proposed opportunity, considering factors such as time commitments, logistical considerations, and alignment with the staff member's workload and responsibilities. Consideration of on-line or in-person participation will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If there is substantial interest for the same opportunity from several applicants, SCU may coordinate on-campus delivery.


Applications will be considered by a committee consisting of:

  • Director, Organisational Development (Chair)
  • Learning & Organisational Development Coordinator
  • A selection of HR Business Partners

The committee will consider each application based on:

  • Applications meeting the selection criteria.
  • Level of contribution already provided to the employee in the previous three-year period will be assessed (including paid study leave, study assistance, external and internal training or development programs completed).
  • PRP or similar professional development conversations.
  • Position description and role.
  • Supervisor feedback regarding performance and the suitability of the application.
  • University context and emerging change.

Successful Applicants

  • Will be notified by email, online meeting or in-person.
  • Required to note the program or activity within their PRP.
  • Share their learnings with their supervisor, team - and colleagues more broadly where applicable (e.g. Career Catalyst pre-brief and de-brief)

Where an employee’s application is not approved, they will be provided with feedback regarding the Committee’s decision and will be eligible to reapply in the following year’s program.

All assistance provided through the Career Catalyst Fund will be centrally recorded.