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About the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL)

What is the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning?

The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) is a senior secondary certificate that provides you with practical work-related experience as well as literacy and numeracy skills that are important for life and work.

Like the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), VCAL is a senior secondary qualification and a pathway to many careers and future education.

If you like hands-on learning and would like to go to Technical and Further Education (TAFE) or university, do an apprenticeship or traineeship, or start a job when you finish school, VCAL may be a good choice.

The course is flexible and enables you to undertake a study program that suits your interests and learning needs in a variety of settings, including schools, TAFE institutes and Adult Community Education centres.

How do I achieve my VCAL?

a young male apprentice chef wearing a white hat and uniform with a dark blue pinstripe apron 

To achieve your VCAL, you need to complete 10 units of study from four compulsory strands:

  • Literacy and Numeracy Skills
  • Industry Specific Skills
  • Work Related Skills
  • Personal Development Skills.

If you successfully complete your VCAL, you will receive a Statement of Results that details the areas of study you have completed.

How is VCAL structured?

VCAL has three levels: Foundation, Intermediate and Senior.

You can start and complete your VCAL at the level that matches your needs and abilities. Speak to your school if you need help with making this choice.

What can my VCAL program include?

Your teacher or careers counsellor can help you develop a VCAL program that suits your particular learning needs and interests.

A VCAL program can include:

  • VCAL units
  • VCE units
  • Vocational Education and Training (VET)/Further Education (FE) modules or units of competency.

Your VCAL learning program must include:

  • a minimum of two VCAL units
  • at least one Literacy unit
  • at least one Numeracy unit
  • at least one unit from the Industry Specific Skills strand (at the Intermediate and Senior levels this must include a unit of study from a VET qualification)
  • at least one unit from the Work Related Skills strand
  • at least one unit from the Personal Development Skills strand. (At the Intermediate and Senior levels this must include a unit of study from a VET/FE qualification.)
  • at least one unit from the Work Related Skills strand
  • at least one unit from the Personal Development Skills strand
  • six credits at the VCAL level attempted (Foundation, Intermediate or Senior) or above. One of these credits must be for Literacy and one must be for Personal Development Skills.

How will I be assessed for VCAL?

All units in your VCAL program are assessed by your teacher and/or registered training organisation (RTO).

If you include VCE studies in your VCAL, the VCE section of this resource has further information on assessment.

a young woman carpentry apprentice wearing yellow hard hat blue jeans and shirt with a leather tool belt around her waist 

How will I receive my results?

You will receive a VCAL certificate for the level (Foundation, Intermediate or Senior) you chose to complete.

You will receive a Statement of Results from the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA), listing all the VCAL, VCE and VCE VET units you were enrolled in and have completed.

You will also receive a Full Qualification or Statement of Attainment from the RTO for VET studies that you have completed.

I've already started a VET certificate. Will it count towards my VCAL?

Yes. You should speak to your teacher or careers counsellor to work out how much of your previous study counts towards your VCAL so you can plan the rest of your VCAL program.

I've already done a VCE study. Will this count towards my VCAL?

If you have an S result for the VCE unit, it may count towards your VCAL. Your teacher or careers counsellor will be able to tell you if you are eligible for this credit.

Can I switch to the VCE if I change my mind?

If you start your VCAL and then decide the VCE is the right option for you after all, you can choose to transfer.

If you decide to take this option, you should discuss it with your teacher or careers counsellor.

Can I complete a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship as part of my VCAL program?

A school-based or part-time apprenticeship or traineeship can be included in your VCAL program. The VET certificate studied can meet two of the four VCAL curriculum strand requirements: Industry Specific Skills and Work Related Skills.

Can part-time work count towards my VCAL?

Part-time work may contribute to your VCAL. Other work activities that may contribute to your VCAL include:

  • a school-based or part-time apprenticeship or traineeship
  • voluntary work
  • structured workplace learning placements.

Excellence and awards

There are awards and scholarships available for high-achieving VCAL students who demonstrate commitment to community service:

These awards provide opportunities to further your VCAL studies and support your personal development.

The VCAL Achievement Awards acknowledge the achievements of VCAL students, teachers and partner organisations. Information about the awards can be found on the VCAA website.

There is a list of all VCAL providers on the VCAA website.

See information about apprenticeships and traineeships

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