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Education & Employment

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Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation is committed to reducing place-based education and economic inequality. 

Despite almost three decades of uninterrupted economic growth, Greater Melbourne has pockets of entrenched socio-economic disadvantage. Where you live affects your education and job opportunities. 

There is great need to further develop our education and training systems to meet the changing nature of work and the influence of globalisation, technology and climate change. 

We support project and policy responses that empower our most disadvantaged communities to increase work readiness and economic inclusion.

The Foundation is working towards achieving the following outcomes (click each one to learn more):

  • Outcome 1: Reduced current and emerging skills and capabilities gaps to improve life and work readiness.

    Where someone goes to school can affect the quality of their education and life opportunities.

    A recent study of NAPLAN results shows Melbourne’s disadvantaged suburbs are dominated by schools ranked below average. Disadvantaged schools have larger teaching shortages, fewer educational materials and offer a smaller curriculum. 

    Additionally, current education and training systems are not delivering the skills and capabilities needed to navigate complex work futures in the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, where the boundaries between physical, digital and biological worlds are blurring.

    A place-based, collaborative approach is essential to ensuring younger and older people gain relevant skills, competencies and experience to participate in meaningful and secure work.

    The Foundation focuses on the potential for technology and education practice to unlock opportunity and reduce inequality.

    The Foundation’s support is focused on:

    • Projects and initiatives that prioritise 21st-century skills and capabilities.
    • Demonstration projects of wrap-around support that creates clear senior secondary school pathways and career exposure, particularly to emerging industries.
    • Community collaborations and industry partnerships for better school-work transitions.
    • Research to better understand the issues and inform policy advocacy that addresses the root causes and drivers of education inequality.

    The Foundation will consider other activities that address this outcome.

    Learn more about this outcome »

  • Outcome 2: Increased economic inclusion, resilience and workforce adaptability.

    The most vulnerable members of our community often face multiple barriers to economic inclusion.

    Where someone grows up influences their job and potential income. Lower skill workers tend to live in more disadvantaged suburbs.

    Globalisation, technology and climate change are also rapidly changing the nature of work, placing economic security at risk, particularly for lower-skilled workers.

    In response, the Foundation focuses on the opportunities presented by emerging transition industries and economic models and systems.

    The Foundation’s support is focused on:

    • Training pathways and job creation, including social enterprises.
    • New models and systems that enable greater economic inclusion and resilience.
    • Community collaborations focused on innovation, entrepreneurship and emerging industries.
    • Research to better understand the issues and inform policy and advocacy that address the root causes and drivers of economic inequality.

    The Foundation will consider other activities that address this outcome.

    Learn more about this outcome »


Does your organisation's work align with the outcomes of this Impact Area?

Learn about our grants and speak to Stephen Torsi, Program Manager - Education & Employment.




Learn more about the issues affecting our community

Our Greater Melbourne Vital Signs Report provides a snapshot of the health, wellbeing and vitality of Greater Melbourne. The report identifies positive aspects of our community, as well as the issues we face, and informs the Foundation's strategy. 


Recent Grants

Seed Innovation Grants

Ability Works Australia LtdPilot to test enhancing the skills and independence of people with cognitive disabilities in the workplace.

Ability Works is seeking to empower employees with cognitive disabilities in the workplace by improving their skills, independence and sense of achievement. To realise this, a Microsoft HoloLens headset using Mixed Reality is being programmed to pilot test whether this is achievable in a real-world manufacturing workplace.
Centre for Policy Development LimitedCommunity Deals.

CPD will extend the operating model and trial sites for Community Deals - a place-based approach to boosting economic and social participation for disadvantaged groups.
University of MelbourneMaking education work for women: addressing Australia’s education-employment gap.

Globally, Australia ranks #1 in gender equality in education, but only #45 in women’s economic participation (World Economic Forum 2018). This project will investigate the reasons for and impacts of such wide discrepancy.

Scaling-up Innovation Grants

Lively Community LimitedLively Home Care: Scaling an innovative model of intergenerational care.

This project will enable Lively to scale up an innovative model of aged home care that employs and trains young people through this project. Lively aim to establish and refine a community-based operating model for the service that can be scaled rapidly, effectively and at low cost across Australia, driving change in the aged care sector towards a more positive future of home care.
Victoria University'Third Space' Pedagogies Inspiring Disadvantaged Students in the West.

The project will scale-up an innovative approach to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) teaching and learning in Footscray. The approach involves creating a 'third space' – neither school nor work – in which students work together with teachers, industry and community to identify and address real-world problems.

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Key Stats


Students experiencing the most disadvantage can be almost three years behind in their education.


Youth unemployment is up to 15.5% in some areas of Melbourne.


The single largest group on Newstart Allowance are Australians aged between 55 and 64.

Impact Stories