While most Australian students have the choice of only one senior secondary qualification, students in Victoria can choose from two secondary certificates â the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL). Introduced in 2002, VCAL offers hands-on training and a great pathway into work for a wide range of students. We discuss how your child may benefit from this practical alternative to VCE.
VCAL is designed for students who donât plan to go to university after secondary school, instead preparing them for an alternative pathway such as an apprenticeship, Vocational Education and Training (VET) or full-time employment. The certificate allows students to finish their senior secondary studies and work towards future training or employment aspirations at the same time. VCAL students complete subjects from four compulsory strands â Literacy and Numeracy Skills, Industry Specific Skills, Work Related Skills and Personal Development Skills.
Practical learning opportunities
One of the main benefits of the VCAL is its emphasis on practical work-related skills, with two of the four VCAL strands focusing on providing practical work and industry experience. Students are able to focus on a specific industry by completing a VET qualification, or complete units from a range of vocational areas. Students can also choose to undertake a structured work placement, an apprenticeship or traineeship, or part-time work.
Personalised study plans
VCAL is a flexible program that allows students to design a study plan based on their interests and learning needs. The certificate has three levels â foundation, intermediate and senior â with students able to complete the level that best matches their aspirations and abilities. Students can gain credit for VCE subjects, VET qualifications, work placements, an apprenticeship or traineeship, community projects and VCAL units to complete their certificate.
Access to industry
Unlike their classmates completing VCE, VCAL students benefit from direct access to industry and a better understanding of their post-school study and training options. Students are able to form relationships with future employers, gain industry experience and start working towards a further qualification.
The recently announced Lynne Kosky Memorial Scholarships offer support for VCAL students in financial need to continue their studies through to the end of Year 12 and beyond. The scholarships are available to Year 10 students and are valued at $5000 per year for up to five years while students complete study, a traineeship or an apprenticeship.