Capping it off

Raelene Turner standing against a green wall with photos of CAP Award winners

Raelene Turner, photo by Joanne Saad

In summary: 
  • UTS CAP Awards are given to high-performing support staff in recognition of their contributions to UTS
  • Recipients receive $3000 for career development plus an opportunity for career coaching
  • Supervisors can nominate their outstanding staff for the 2012 awards from April


Everyone likes being recognised for their efforts at work, and a $3000 development grant goes a long way to making staff feel valued. Since 2006, that is exactly what the Career and Professional (CAP) Development Awards have been doing for high performing UTS support staff.

The awards were developed as a way of acknowledging the hard work support staff do in an otherwise academically focused environment. Awards coordinator and Staff Services Officer Raelene Turner says, “At UTS, we reward our senior staff and we also have promotion rounds for academics, but we didn’t really have anything in place for our high performing support staff.

“In a university environment, you need support staff to offset academics – one can’t exist without the other. The Vice-Chancellor Professor Ross Milbourne and the Human Resources Unit (HRU) are aware of this, so the CAP Awards evolved as a way of acknowledging these efforts.”

With Professor Milbourne calling for this year’s nominations to be made by supervisors in April, Turner says senior university staff, including the Vice-Chancellor himself, look forward to receiving the submissions.

“The VC loves to review the achievements of staff. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Anne Dwyer also loves to reward her support staff – she’s chair of the CAP committee.”

Last year, seven staff members received CAP Awards and a further six received commendations out of a total of 18 nominees, the highest number of candidates yet. The popularity of the awards has steadily increased since the inaugural presentation six years ago, but this growing popularity is not only due to the financial incentive.

Turner explains, “Our HRU review showed peer appreciation is important amongst colleague. Recipients really enjoyed the recognition from the VC as well.”

Turner further credits the rising popularity of the CAP awards to the power of the university’s values of discover, engage, empower, deliver and sustain (DEEDS) and it seems staff are exemplifying these. “People are inspired by them. From our perspective, we can see the DEEDS have really become instilled in the way people work.”

While peer recognition is rewarding in itself, CAP winners also enjoy prize money of up to $3000 to be spent on career or skill development. In the past, winners have used the money to attend international conferences or put it towards further study, including master’s degrees and short courses. The winners are also given the option of attending a coaching session focused on career directions and aspirations.

The awards ceremony includes the annual CAP formal luncheon, held in the Aerial Function Centre. “It’s intimate, with recipients and their supervisors sitting down to lunch with the VC. The awards are quite prestigious because of that intimacy. It’s a great occasion that showcases the span of staff and the type of work we’re doing at UTS. It’s quite diverse and this is a good representation of UTS; we’re a diverse organisation.”

Nominate your staff for a CAP award.