The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) is a hands-on option for Years 10, 11 and 12 students. The VCAL gives you practical work-related experience, as well as literacy and numeracy skills and the opportunity to build personal skills that are important for life and work.
VCAL operates within the school and the four compulsory VCAL Strands are Literacy & Numeracy Skills, Industry Specific Skills, Work Related Skills and Personal Development Skills. The majority of students will complete 3 full days of VCAL subjects, with Wednesdays to be used for VET subjects and Fridays to be used for individual work placements.
The VCAL Certificate is an accredited alternative secondary certificate to the VCE. Students who do the VCAL Certificate are likely to be interested in going on to training at Technical and Further Education (TAFE) Institutes, doing an apprenticeship, or getting a job after completing school.
The VCAL has three levels - Foundation, Intermediate and Senior. You would start and complete your VCAL at the level that matches your needs and abilities. A VCAL Certificate will usually take a year to complete. The VCAL Certificate's flexibility enables you to undertake a study program that suits your interests and learning needs. Accredited modules and units are selected from the following four compulsory strands:
Strand 1 – Literacy and Numeracy Skills
Your VCAL program must include literacy and numeracy subjects. These can be selected from VCAL literacy skills and VCAL numeracy skills units, VCE English and Mathematics.
Strand 2 – Industry Specific Skills
Your VCAL Intermediate or Senior program must include industry specific units from VET Certificates. The range of options is extensive but can include: Outdoor Recreation, Kitchen Operations, Engineering and Beauty Services– Refer to VET Courses
Strand 3 – Work Related Skills
In order to develop 'employability' skills, VCAL gives you the choice of undertaking a structured workplace learning placement or a school-based apprenticeship/traineeship and/or part-time work for one day a week. You will also be required to complete training in an accredited OHS module/unit before commencing a structured workplace learning placement.
Strand 4 – Personal Development Skills
As part of your VCAL program you will participate in community-based projects and/or structured activities that will help develop your teamwork skills, self-confidence and other skills important for life and work. If you successfully complete the program you will receive your VCAL Certificate as well as a VET Certificate (either through a VET subject such as Outdoor Recreation or through an Australian School Based Apprenticeship).
Traineeships and the VCAL
You can gain recognition and credit for part-time work while enrolled in the VCAL. In fact this is one of the most important strands of VCAL. This is where the real hands on work can be completed. Bright P-12 College actively encourages students to do an School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBAT) as a vital part of their VCAL.
You can develop a VCAL program that suits your particular learning needs and interests. You have the choice of selecting units and modules for each of the following four compulsory VCAL strands.
Requirements of the VCAL Certificate
To be awarded a VCAL Certificate, you must successfully complete a Learning Program of 1000 nominal hours that is designed to comply with the following credit requirements. The Learning Program must:
- Be made up of ten credits
- It must contain components drawn from accredited curriculum such as:
- VCAL units
- VCE units
- VET accredited curriculum or FE accredited curriculum (one credit is awarded on successful completion of 90 nominal hours of accredited curriculum)
- It must include:
- a minimum of two VCAL units
- in the literacy/numeracy strand, components to the value of one credit for literacy and one credit for numeracy; and
- in the remaining three strands, components to the value of at least one credit
- The VCAL must also include components to the value of six credits at the level of the VCAL award, of which one must be for literacy and one credit must be for a VCAL Personal Development Skills unit.
The VCAL and University
If you are considering going to university straight from school, VCAL is probably not the best option for you. Students planning to go straight into higher education usually do the VCE which allows them to gain an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR). However, the completion of a Senior VCAL does allow students to access some University options. It also allows entry into the Victorian Police. Entry straight from school is not the only route into university. Some people study a VET course at TAFE, perhaps leading to a Diploma or Advanced Diploma, and then decide that they would benefit from a university course. VCAL would be a good start along this pathway.
This pathway may lead to:
At the end of VCAL you will have a qualification that can lead you directly into a specific industry. VCAL provides the necessary on-the-job skills as well as the critical employability skills to enable you to go directly into employment.
At the end of your VCAL you will have a qualification that can lead onto an apprenticeship. For example if you did School Based Apprenticeship or Traineeship in Building you could then go onto a Building Apprenticeship all with the same employer.