Young people who face barriers to engagement in mainstream education due to family violence, financial hardship, mental health, learning difficulties and homelessness will receive additional care and mental health support to complete their schooling under a new flagship program backed by the Andrews Labor Government.

Living Learning is a ground-breaking program providing education and support for young people aged 15 to 21 who are disengaged from employment, education and training and who have a mental health condition.

The program started in Term 1, 2021 and provides three years of education and wraparound supports to 144 Victorian young people who face complex challenges to completing their education.

Visiting the program on Wednesday, Member for St Albans Natalie Suleyman said it would make a huge difference to the lives of disadvantaged young Victorians.

Based at the Hester Hornbrook Academy, the program now runs across three campuses and is supported by the Labor Government as part of its ground-breaking Partnerships Addressing Disadvantage initiative.

In addition to the Melbourne’s CBD and Prahran campuses, the new Sunshine campus features state of the art facilities to accommodate up to 120 students.

Partnerships Addressing Disadvantage bring together the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors to address deep-seated disadvantage through a social impact investment model.

The Government has committed up to $15 million for this initiative with the final level of investment to be based on results achieved.

Further support has been provided by five of Australia’s leading philanthropic organisations, which have collectively invested $4 million in the Living Learning program – Gandel Philanthropy, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust, Paul Ramsey Foundation, Helen Macpherson Smith Foundation and RE Ross Trust.

Quotes attributable to Member for St Albans Natalie Suleyman

“Quality education programs tailored to the needs of young people living with mental health conditions, like Living Learning, give more young Victorians a genuine chance to forge a bright future.”

“Any opportunity we have to invest in a young person’s education is worth pursuing – particularly when they are facing challenging and complex circumstances as these young people are.”