Scholarships & Awards

The Union supports members and their families by awarding two scholarships – the Phil Smyth Memorial Scholarships (applications open from 1 December to 28 February each year) and the John Beacroft Scholarship/Grant. (applications open from 1 January to 31 December each year)  We also present the Roy Byrnes Community Contribution Award and the Emily Callachor Perpetual Award each year.

Phil Smyth Scholarship

The USU honours the contribution to the union – in particular the education and training of Union members – by our esteemed colleague and friend the late Phil Smyth.

A grant is awarded to assist in the payment of school fees to a child of a member undertaking the Higher School Certificate, preference is given to members who have long years of membership, are employed in the low Bands of awards and/or are the sole income providers for the family, evidence of involvement in Union activities or principles assists when all other criteria is equal. Applications that provide supporting documentation are well considered.

A grant is awarded to assist a member undertake tertiary education, preference is given to members of five year’s standing or more, members who have been long term school leavers or those that are embarking on an educational course to improve their knowledge and skills having left school with minimal qualifications.

Applications should provide supporting documentation that discloses previous educational standards, membership details, union involvement or support, reasons for undertaking the course.

Grants are awarded to either members or their children who are undertaking university studies, preference is again given to those with distinguished years of membership, members employed in the lower pay scales of their awards/agreements and increased importance is given to those applications that are involved in Industrial Relations and Political Studies.

Again supporting documentation and details of why the applicant is a worthy recipient assist in determining the quality of the application.

This Grant is provided to an Industry project that assists in the educational development of a member.

This grant has assisted in the development of members in acquiring the knowledge and skills to progress into middle management roles.

Supporting evidence should be provided to assist in the evaluation of the application.


Application forms will be available for downloading from 1 December every year for submission by 28 February of the following year.

John Beacroft Scholarship

The John Beacroft Scholarship/Grant is awarded to United Services Union Members (or dependants), who demonstrate outstanding sporting attributes and with ambitions for higher achievements in the sport arena. The scholarship will meet expenses related to the sporting ambition.

Recipients will embody the values and high standards of integrity that John Beacroft represented. Please review full terms and conditions here prior to applying.

Grant Value
A total grant of $3,000.00 per annum will be awarded with a minimum grant being $200 and the maximum grant being $1,000.00 per applicant per annum.

Grants will be open from 1st January to 31st December of each year and will be approved at each Executive Meeting until funds for that year are exhausted. Nothing in this policy prohibits the Executive of the Union granting a special application for payment of the benefit beyond allocated total amount; and, or set conditions.

Examples of Activities (however, not limited to):

Representing any sport at elite level be it regional, state, national or international

  • Water Sports
  • Martial Arts
  • Football, soccer, basketball etc.
  • Gymnastics
  • Snow Sports
  • Cycling, mountain biking etc.

Roy Byrnes Community Contribution Award

The Roy Byrnes Award, in recognition of Roy’s outstanding community efforts, is awarded to members or groups of members who have provided an outstanding Community contribution.

Why we honour Roy:

In December 2009 the Union and community were greatly saddened by the sudden passing of United Services Union Organiser, Roy Byrnes. Roy had worked as a full-time official for the USU for two years, after being an active delegate for many years at the City of Sydney Council. Roy was also a proud member of the Sydney Branch Committee of Management.

Roy was a strong community leader who was always the first to lend a hand no matter how big or small the job, regardless of the time of the day.

Roy collected for the Salvation Army, letter-boxed and campaigned for the ALP and ran raffles to raise money for a range of high profile charities. He would lend a hand to any community member to move furniture, fix their computers or just assist individuals to complete documentation such as tax returns.

In recognition of Roy’s outstanding community efforts the USU and Sydney Branch developed an annual Award endorsed by the State Executive that recognises individuals’ selfless contribution to their community. The award is known as the “Roy Byrnes Community Contribution Award”.

Yearly award:
Each year the Union, via the United magazine and the Union web page, calls on members to nominate themselves, other members or groups of members who have, over the previous 12 months, provided an outstanding Community contribution.

The winner will be selected and be presented with a specially made plaque (engraved with their name).

For more information contact the USU Support Team on 1300 136 604.

Emily Callachor Perpetual Award

Are you a USU member and an activist in your workplace or community?

EmilyThe United Services Union is proud to offer the Emily Callachor Perpetual Award to one female member each year who works hard to make the world a better place every single day! Emily Callachor was such a person. Both in her role as a USU Organiser and in the broader community she worked hard to deliver improvements to the lives of many. Sadly Emily passed away in 2020 suddenly and at a young age.

The USU proudly offers this Award in her honour to help identify the next great USU activist to follow in Emily’s footsteps.

The winner will be seconded to the USU for 4 weeks in March 2023. Arrangements will be made with your employer to ensure this has no impact on your employment. During these busy four weeks you will experience the diverse work of the USU.

Activities you will participate in will include:

1. Spending time with Local Government Officials in the field
2. Spending time with EUPS Officials in the field
3. Attending meetings at Trades Hall
4. Attending State Parliament
5. Participate in training sessions with the USU trainer
6. Spend a day with the Manager of Industrial, Rules, Governance and Compliance
7. Spend a day in the Support Team and Membership
8. Spend a day with the USU Communications Officer
9. Attend the NSW Industrial Relations Commission and the Fairwork Commission
10. Participate in a campaign planning.
11. Attend a meeting with current and future partners of the USU Women’s Committee
12. Attend a meeting of the USU Women’s Committee
13. Assist in organising the USU contribution to International Women’s Day
14. Attend a meeting of the Unions NSW Women’s Committee
15. Attend the Annual ALGWA Conference with the USU Women’s Officer
16. Participate at USU Picnic Day

The program for the Award recipient will be developed to ensure exposure to as many of the varied roles of the Union as possible.

Nominations for the 2023 Award close 3rd November 2023. You can nominate here.

For further information please contact Sandie Morthen on 0419 761 326 or at

New Gen Trainee/Apprentice and Mentor of the Year Awards

The New Generation USU committee has been working on issues that they believe affect young workers in their workplaces and have been concentrating on ideas that will entice younger workers into the Union Movement.

The New Generation USU committee recognises the importance of ensuring younger workers are members of the union.


The USU New Gen Committee presents two special awards. The Apprentice/Trainee of the Year and Mentor of the Year. 

Members can nominate fellow USU members in their workplaces for these awards. We are excited to have you join us in celebrating the future of our union.

Selection Criteria:

Apprentice/Trainee of the Year

  • The nominator, and nominee are financial USU members, please provide membership numbers.
  • The nominee is undertaking a recognised qualification by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) please provide a copy of the RTO course details.
  • The nominee is respected by peers and their fellow union members – please complete the nominators, and provide two other supporting statements.

Mentor of the Year

  • The nominator, and nominee are financial USU members, please provide membership numbers.
  • The nominee has actively mentored workers, please provide examples if available demonstrating mentoring in the workplace.
  • The nominee is respected by their peers and their fellow union members – please complete the nominator’s statement, and provide another supporting statement.

For more information visit here.