An impact evaluation of Mission Australia’s Synergy Automotive Repairs Program

Location: North Melbourne, VIC

Duration: 4-6 Months

Project Background

Mission Australia is a national Christian charity that provides a range of community services throughout Australia. In 2014, Mission Australian introduced the Synergy Automotive Repairs (Synergy) program in Melbourne.

This program is aimed at positively impacting the lives of young people involved in motor vehicle offending (e.g. theft, vandalism, hooning). The program was developed in order to capitalize on the interest in cars held by these young offenders as a means of developing pathways to sustainable and on-going meaningful employment in a field that matches their interests.

It is suggested that, among other things, this approach would result in a reduction in the risk of further motor vehicle offending. In addition, it has also been suggested that this is a recognized skill shortage area within the automotive industry offering genuine employment opportunities for graduates of the program.

Research to be Conducted

Mission Australia seeks to gain an understanding of the effectiveness of Synergy in meeting its objectives and to assess the performance and impact of the Synergy program, including an articulation of the financial value it delivers. Participants of the Synergy program should have reduced interactions with government agencies and an increased income compared to other young people who have similar characteristics and risk factors but have not accessed the program. In particular, the evaluation will:

  • Asses how effective the program has been in achieving outcomes for participants
  • Identify the economic impact of the program, including cost savings to government in the areas of:
    • Youth Justice
    • Health
    • Welfare

The actual scope of the evaluation will be discussed and agreed with the successful student and academic mentor. However, it is expected that the successful candidate will undertake a desk review of existing materials (internal and external) on social enterprise in particular their role in reducing recidivism, review the program logic and develop an evaluation plan, which includes formative and outcomes-based evaluations, stakeholder mapping and qualitative and quantitative approaches. Mission Australia would also like the final evaluation report to induce a financial analysis and cost savings of the program.

Skills Required

If you’re a PhD student and meet some or all the below we want to hear from you. We strongly encourage women, indigenous and disadvantaged candidates to apply:

  • Good undergraduate and post-graduate qualification in Criminology, Psychology or Social Work.
  • A good understanding of the literature regarding youth recidivism.
  • Experience of undertaking projects with a similar research design/methodology i.e. developing and using quantitative/qualitative methods to undertake research in a similar area.
  • Excellent writing and presentation skills, using plain English.
  • Understanding and experience of working with disadvantaged young people from diverse backgrounds (ATSI, CALD and low SES), their unique situations and knowledge of the youth justice sector.
  • Experience of undertaking cost-benefit analysis.
  • Previous experience of undertaking research/evaluations within the area of crime/youth justice.

Expected Outcomes

A final report no more than 25 pages in length (including annexes) detailing Executive Summary setting out key messages; detailed findings of the outcomes; analysis and conclusions; and recommendations for service delivery, advocacy and policy.

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 80% of their time on-site with the industry partner.  The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.


APR – 1304