Professional development procedure


This procedure helps staff members and managers to identify professional development objectives, to manage a staff member’s development plan and to administer support for professional development.


This procedure applies to all RMIT staff members. Professional development leave and financial support for formal educational study is only applicable to fixed-term and continuing staff members.


The policy is not retrospective. Staff members pursuing professional development activity at their own expense are not eligible for retrospective support.

Procedure steps and actions




1. Identification of development needs

1.1. Development needs (skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours) are integrated in the performance management process and identified

  • at induction
  • through the performance cycle and/or feedback and performance conversations
  • at the point of role transition or promotion
  • through training needs analysis (group, team, individual level)

1.2. Staff members are encouraged to identify and suggest learning and development solutions (exposure, experience or education) to their managers, based on their current role, the behavioural expectations required for their role and their career aspirations.

Note: All staff need to complete the mandatory compliance online modules every two years.

Staff member and manager


2. Creating and managing development objectives

2.1. A development objective in the Performance Workplan consists of the following six parts:

  • Objective name
  • Activities to achieve objective
  • Support
  • Timeframe for completion
  • Delivery mode
  • Alignment

2.2. The manager identifies development objectives taking into consideration:

  • the Universitiy’s strategies and plans
  • agreed performance objectives
  • the staff member’s performance
  • the staff member’s role description
  • the staff member’s behavioural expectations
  • feedback from internal/external customers and stakeholders, and
  • the staff member’s stated career aspirations

2.3. The staff member and manager specify the staff member’s development objectives in the development section of the staff member’s Performance Workplan

Staff member and manager

Annually/ ongoing

3. Submitting development plan to Human Resources

3.1. A copy of every staff member’s workplan which includes the development plan for the coming year needs to be submitted to Human Resources.


Annually, by the end of the first quarter

4. University-wide training needs analysis

4.1. Human Resources will review all staff members’ development objectives to ensure:

  • RMIT’s professional development program supports the organisational objectives and behavioural expectations
  • staff development needs can be systematically identified and prioritised
  • professional development is tailored to local requirements

4.2. Human Resources provides advice to managers based on the training needs analysis outlining development needs and priorities for their work unit.

Human Resources

Annually, by the end of the second quarter

5. Monitoring and reviewing of the development objectives

5.1. Staff members are responsible for proactively managing the achievement of their development objectives with the support and approval of their manager.

5.2. Development objectives should be reviewed periodically as part of RMIT’s performance cycle to ensure that they are relevant and objectives being achieved.

Staff member and manager


6. Giving approval

6.1. All professional development activities including time release need to be approved by the staff member’s manager and documented in the Performance Workplan.

6.2. Related funding and leave need to be approved in line with the Staffing Delegation Schedule and the Financial Delegation Schedule and must be documented in the development section under the heading “support” of the Performance Workplan.

Manager and/or relevant delegated authority

7. Funding and financial support

7.1. Approving financial support

Financial support for professional development is a discretionary investment on the part of RMIT and is not an entitlement.

Managers should apply the criteria for professional development (as outlined in the Professional development policy) when deciding if it is appropriate to provide financial support.

Financial support must be approved according to financial delegations through the relevant financial procedures.

7.2. Financial support for formal educational study

Where a formal educational study is a condition of employment and specified as such in the staff member’s contract, 100% of tuition fees and expenses may be granted, for example Certificate IV in Training and Assessment or Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching and Learning.

Where a study is either related to the staff member’s current position or to identified career plans as outlined in the staff member’s career profile and where the study is desirable rather than essential, up to 50% of the tuition fees and expenses (up to a reasonable limit) may be granted.

Staff who have received financial support for formal educational study from RMIT, are required to repay any financial support pro rata should they leave the University’s employment within two years of completing each course of study for which financial support has been given.

7.3. Disclosing external support

A staff member receiving grants or travel assistance from sources outside RMIT must declare this in their application for financial support.

Financial support provided by RMIT may be reduced if the total amount received from all sources exceeds the actual expenses incurred.

7.4. Administering financial support

Financial support can be offered in one of two ways:

  • an upfront payment by the University on behalf of the staff member (should only be considered for staff members with a minimum of 12 months service)
  • reimbursement of costs paid by the staff member

Staff applying for financial support are encouraged to seek individual tax advice regarding options and tax implications.

Financial support will be reviewed annually against the criteria for approving professional development activities, as listed in the Professional development policy.

Continuing support is also subject to the staff member’s satisfactory progress and completion of jointly agreed objectives. Appropriate milestones for review of support will be determined at the time of initial approval.

In the case of formal educational study, any decision to discontinue support will be communicated at least four weeks prior to recommencement of the course. If the University has made an upfront payment and the staff member fails a subject/the study, the staff member will have to reimburse the payment back to the University.

7.5. Salary sacrificing

As part of their remuneration package, staff may salary sacrifice self-education expenses where there is a tax benefit (e.g. for courses that have a sufficient connection to the staff member’s current employment and maintain or improve the specific skills or knowledge the staff member requires in their current employment).

For further details contact Human Resources.

Manager and /or local management committee

8. Professional development leave

8.1. RMIT provides the following professional development leave types which are detailed in the Professional development leave guidelines:

  • Research leave for academic staff
  • Study leave
  • Assessment leave
  • Sabbatical leave for TAFE teaching staff
  • PhD completion leave for academic staff

8.2. Applying for professional development leave

Staff members should apply for professional development leave (if required) online through Employee Self Service (ESS).

8.3. Approving professional development leave

When deciding whether to approve professional development leave, managers need to consider:

  • the criteria for approving professional development (outlined in the Professional development policy)
  • the requirements of the role and work area

8.4. Once professional development leave is approved, the staff member and manager negotiate appropriate time release. Options to be negotiated can include reduced working hours or workload, leave with pay, leave without pay or a combination of these.

Staff member and manager

9. Disseminating and applying knowledge gained

9.1. It is the staff member’s responsibility to ensure that knowledge gained through a professional development activity is applied, communicated and shared with their manager and/or colleagues.

Staff member

10. Monitoring and recording

10.1. All professional development activities need to be regularly monitored and recorded in the staff Performance Workplan.

10.2. The staff member should advise their manager and Human Resources when they complete formal educational study and/or attain a qualification, licence or registration.

10.3. The staff member should send a certified copy of the qualifications to Human Resources for recording on the HR system.

Staff member and manager

11. Cancellation of development activities

11.1. Any cancellation or rescheduling of an already approved professional development activity needs to be immediately communicated to the approving manager and the training provider and may incur a cost that will be charged to the work unit.

Staff member

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