The Living Learning program has been designed to deliver services addressing the barriers to personal and educational achievement for school leavers aged 15-24 who are experiencing mental health complexities and who are persistently not engaged in employment, education, or training.  Living Learning is an integrative program delivered by Melbourne City Mission (MCM) and their independent school Hester Hornbrook Academy (HHA) that provides three years of wraparound support for young people in three cohorts of 48 participants – 144 students in total. The program will operate from 2021 to 2025. 

Living Learning has been developed through the Victorian Government’s Partnerships Addressing Disadvantage (PADs) initiative. PADs are outcomes-based contracts that emphasise the partnerships that are required to tackle complex problems, combining service delivery insights with resources from the public and private sectors to deliver innovative solutions.


The evaluation aims to understand the implementation and effectiveness of the Living Learning program and the PAD model, including the structural design of the social impact bond approach.


The evaluation has adopted a mixed-methods approach, analysing available quantitative program and survey data, as well as qualitative insights from semi-structured interviews. Reflecting the dual scope of the evaluation, research was arranged into streams that inform the PAD model, and streams that inform program implementation and outcomes. Findings within this report have been informed by analysis of both primary and secondary data sources, including: 

  • semi-structured interviews and an online survey Living Learning participants
  • consultations with Living Learning program and HHA staff members
  • consultations with PAD model stakeholders from MCM, DFFH, and DTF
  • a review of program documents and data collected for Cohort 1 and 2 program participants.


Urbis has delivered the Formative Report in 2022, which examines lessons learned in the first year of operation and the PAD development phase. The Interim Report of 2023 assessed progress towards outcomes after the first two years of the Living Learning program, provides recommendations for how the program can be improved, and highlights early learnings to inform broader government policies.