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Overview of the Victorian Pathways Certificate - VPC

Watch further senior secondary pathway options in 2023 videos.

The Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC) is an inclusive Year 11 and 12 standards-based certificate that meets the needs of a smaller number of students who are not able or ready to complete the VCE (including the VCE Vocational Major). It provides an enriched curriculum and excellent support for students to develop the skills, capabilities and qualities for success in personal and civic life. 

The VPC is an accredited foundation secondary qualification under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006. It aligns to Level 1 in the Australian Qualifications Framework. While the VPC is not a senior secondary qualification, it can be a pathway to the VCE.

The VPC is designed to develop and extend pathways for young people, while providing flexibility for different cohorts. The VPC is suitable for students whose previous schooling experience may have been disrupted for a variety of reasons, including students with additional needs, students who have missed significant periods of learning and vulnerable students at risk of disengaging from their education. Students will gain the skills, knowledge, values and capabilities to make informed choices about pathways into a senior secondary qualification, entry level vocational education and training (VET) course or employment.

The curriculum accommodates student aspirations and future employment goals. VPC learning programs connect students to industry experiences and active participation in the community. Through participation in the VPC students will gain necessary foundation skills to allow them to make a post-schooling transition.

Find out more about the VPC in the VPC Administrative Handbook 2023.

Find out more about the VPC professional learning available for providers.

Victorian Pathways Certificate enrolment suitability

When enrolling a student into the VPC, the individual needs of the student must be considered. Discussions about the VPC’s suitability for a student should be conducted between the VPC provider, the student and their family.

VPC Suitability guidelines have been developed to inform decision making regarding the appropriateness of the VPC for individual students before they are enrolled in the certificate.

Completing the Victorian Pathways Certificate

To be eligible to receive the VPC, students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 12 units, including:

  • at least two units of VPC Literacy (or units from the VCE English group including VCE Vocational Major Literacy)
  • at least two units of VPC Numeracy (or units from the VCE Mathematics group including VCE Vocational Major Numeracy)
  • at least two VPC Personal Development Skills units
  • at least two VPC Work Related Skills units.

Students can also include units from VCE studies, VCE Vocational Major studies, and VET units of competency. VPC students can receive VET credit for 90 nominal hours at the Certificate 1 or above level and receive structured workplace learning recognition. Many students will undertake more than 12 units over the VPC.

The VPC is designed to be delivered in Year 11 and 12 and has a flexible duration depending on a student’s individual learning plan and the delivery setting. The VPC may be completed in a minimum of 12 months. All VPC units can be completed in any order and in any year. The units can be delivered in a flexible manner and do not have to be delivered sequentially.

VPC units have been designed to align to the VCE VM units to enable providers to deliver the VCE VM and VPC within the same classroom where required.

Vocational and applied learning in the Victorian Pathways Certificate

New curriculum in VPC Literacy, Numeracy, Personal Development Skills and Work Related Skills has been developed by panels of current applied learning practitioners. The new curriculum is engaging, based in real life and gives students in-demand skills needed for the future world of work.

Applied learning teaches skills and knowledge in the context of ‘real life’ experiences. Students apply what they have learnt by doing, experiencing and relating acquired skills to the real-world. It enables flexible, personalised learning where teachers work with students to recognise their personal strengths, interest, goals, and experiences.

This is a shift from the traditional focus on discrete curriculum to a more integrated and contextualised approach to learning. Students learn and apply the skills and knowledge required to solve problems, implement projects or participate in structured workplace learning.

Enrolling in Victorian Pathways Certificate studies

There are no formal entry requirements for VPC studies. The VPC has been designed to accommodate flexible entry and exit. Students can enter VPC studies at a time that best suits their learning needs, abilities and interests.

Parameters for entry and exit in schools are determined by school regulations and enrolment guidelines. Flexible entry and exit points of non-school VPC providers are determined by the policies and regulations of that education provider.

The VPC has been designed to be flexible, enabling the individual needs and capacity of students to be recognised. Some students with particular needs may require additional resources to enable the successful completion of the learning program and some students may require additional time to achieve learning goals.

Identified students may start the certificate in Year 10 if they require additional time to complete the course. It is not recommended that the VPC be delivered in Year 10 as a standalone program.

Assessment and certification of the Victorian Pathways Certificate

Assessment of VPC studies

Each VPC unit of study has modules with specified learning goals. A VPC unit can only be satisfactorily completed once all modules within that unit have been completed. The VPC studies are standards-based. All assessments for the achievement of learning goals are school-based and assessed through a range of assessment activities and tasks. Schools will report a student’s result for each module to the VCAA as S (Satisfactory) or N (Not Yet Complete).

There are no external assessments of VPC studies. VPC studies do not contribute to the ATAR.

Certification

Upon successful completion of the VPC, students receive a certificate and a Statement of Results.

Successful completion of VET units of competency are recognised by additional statements of attainment or certificates provided by the Registered Training Organisation.

General advice about the VPC Curriculum and Assessment Audit

All schools will be annually audited for one VPC study. Schools will be notified regarding the study for which they have been selected for audit in Term 2, 2023. Further information about the Curriculum and Assessment Audit for VPC studies and about the 2023 VCAL Quality Assurance process will be published at the start of the 2023 academic year.

Victorian Pathways Certificate students and the General Achievement Test

All students studying at least one Unit 3 and 4 VCE subject (or a scored VCE VET subject) are expected to sit all or a section of the General Achievement Test (GAT). There is no requirement for VPC students to sit the GAT unless they are enrolled in VCE units 3 or 4 or a scored VET subject.

Transition from VCAL to the Victorian Pathways Certificate

Teach-Out and Award of Intermediate VCAL in 2023

Provision of the Victorian Pathways Certificate

Providers currently registered by the VRQA and authorised by the VCAA to offer and deliver VCE and VCAL (all levels) will transition under the Education and Training Reform Act to be able to offer and deliver the VCE (current VCE studies and VCE VM studies) and the VPC. Providers not currently registered and authorised to deliver VCAL but seeking to deliver the VPC in 2023 can find information at Apply to deliver the VCE, VCE VM or VPC page.

Access to the Victorian Pathways Certificate prior to the senior secondary years

The Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC) is an inclusive Years 11 and 12 standards-based certificate that meets the needs of a smaller number of students who are not able or ready to complete the VCE (for more information, see the VPC Suitability guidelines). It will provide an enriched curriculum and excellent support for students to develop the skills, capabilities and qualities for success in personal and civic life. The VPC is designed for students in Years 11 and 12 who would benefit from an individualised program at a more accessible level than a senior secondary certificate. It has a flexible duration depending on a student’s individual education plan and the delivery setting.

It is possible for students to enrol in some VPC studies prior to year 11 and 12, however students, schools and providers should take into consideration

  • Student access to the F-10 Curriculum
  • The implementation of applied learning approaches in the F-10 and middle years curriculum
  • Students’ pathway into VCE, VCE VM or VPC
  • Students’ ability to access an appropriate range of units in years 11 and 12

Example programs

The following example programs represent the way schools have allowed pre senior secondary students to access applied learning through VPC and VCE VM units. These programs should be seen as examples only and have been developed to suit the needs and interests of students in specific settings. There are a range of ways in which students may access applied learning programs before the senior secondary years, and schools and providers should consider the educational needs, interests and future pathways of students when designing applied learning programs for students prior to the senior secondary years.

Pakenham College – Year 10 VET Pathway

Overview

Year 10 students at Pakenham College are able to accelerate into their senior school pathway, whether they are planning to undertake VCE, VCE VM, or VPC.

Students can select;

  • VCE Pathway – including an accelerated VCE study as part of their program
  • VET Pathway – including a cert I or II VET study as part of their program
  • SBAT Pathway – including an SBAT as part of their program

Students undertaking the VET and SBAT programs are placed into two specific home groups in the timetable – the VET group and SBAT groups. This allows teachers to review and differentiate the year 10 curriculum for these students from the mainstream curriculum, depending on student abilities and interests. For example, changing the texts used in English, or focussing more on Economics and Business or Civics and Citizenship in Humanities depending on student interest and need.

The VET and SBAT Pathways have an increased focus on applied learning for students who are considering enrolment into the VCE VM or VPC in years 11 and 12. Students are recommended or referred into the VET and SBAT Pathways by their year level coordinators, teachers, or through the use of student learning data. Once referred, interviews are held with the students and their parents/caregivers to outline the course requirements and administration details for VET and SBATs.

Career action plans and the Morrisby careers program are used to support student selection of their VET or SBAT pathway, and where possible the selection is aligned with the student’s work experience program. VET and SBAT students undertake some elective studies which are dovetailed with their selected VET or SBAT where possible, for example Hospitality VET and Food Studies, or Building and Construction VET with Product Design.

VET students are encouraged to complete at least 90 hours of competency in their selected Cert II VET study to contribute to their senior certificate in year 11. Some students are recommended for Headstart after completing the year 10 VET or SBAT pathway.

Course structure:

VET program

  • Students undertake one Cert I or II level VET study
  • Students attend school 4 days per week
  • Students attend VET 1 day per week
  • Students complete a work experience program related to their VET
  • Students undertake the following year 10 studies in their VET class group;
    • English
    • Maths
    • Health and Physical Education
    • Science (1 semester)
    • Humanities (1 semester)
    • Semester electives
  • Students may access unit 1 and in some cases units 1 and 2 of a VCE VM or VPC study as part of the VET program, as a year-long elective.

SBAT program

  • Students undertake an SBAT (Kitchen Operations, Warehousing and Logistics, or Horticulture)
  • Students attend school 3 days per week
  • Students attend their SBAT and work placement 2 days per week
  • Students complete a work experience program related to their VET, for Structured Workplace Learning credit
  • Students undertake some year 10 studies in their SBAT class group*, including;
    • English
    • Maths
    • Health and Physical Education
    • Science (1 semester)
    • Humanities (1 semester)
    • Semester electives

*Prior to the Senior Secondary Certificate Reform, some SBAT students completed Foundation VCAL alongside their SBAT studies. In the future these students may complete some unit 1 VCE VM studies alongside their SBAT.

Pathways:

Most students undertaking the year 10 VET or SBAT Pathways will continue into the VCE Vocational Major (VCE VM) or the Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC), as identified in their Career action plan and/or Morrisby careers program counselling. A small number of students from the VET program move into VCE general after year 10.

Parade College - Edmund Rice Pathways Program

Overview

The Edmund Rice Pathways Program is a specialised, vocational ‘hands on’ learning program available to selected Year 10 students. The Learning Program provides literacy skills development for reading, writing and oral communication and practical application in the contexts of employment, community and personal development outcomes.

Selection criteria for the program is centred on student attitude, behaviour and effort over the 4 terms of Year 9, as well as career interests and aspirations. Students submit an Expression of Interest, which is reviewed by the program leaders. An interview is then arranged where the applicant and parents/guardians meet with relevant school leaders and the Wellbeing Coordinator in Term 3 of the preceding year. At the interview, students are required to bring a copy of their mid-year report and a referee statement recommending them for the program.

Students are placed in one homegroup where they access F-10 studies designed with applied and project-based learning as a focus, and all students select Vocational Education and Training (VET) studies from those offered internally in the college, including Certificate II Building and Construction (Carpentry), Certificate II Building and Construction (Bricklaying), and Certificate II Furniture Making Pathways. The last 2 weeks of terms 1 - 4 are set aside for organised work experience, which is integrated into the curriculum and is a compulsory part of the program.

Course structure:

Students undertake a range of subjects in their homegroup where they access the F-10 curriculum through project-based, applied and collaborative learning design. In each subject the curriculum is aligned to level 10 F-10 curriculum, but also provides exposure to a selection of relevant Key Skills and Knowledge from the VCE VM studies.

Students undertake dedicated English/Literacy and Mathematics classes, along with the following project-based classes where they access the F-10 Arts, Health & Physical Education, Humanities, Science and Technologies curriculum through group projects in the school and wider community.

  • Community Based Religious Education/ Community Action
  • Work Education/Vocational Preparation
  • Physical Activity and Education

View Parade College – Year 10 Applied Learning – English - Language of Advertising sample unit.

Pathways:

Students undertaking the Edmund Rice Pathways program can continue into the VCE Vocational Major (VCE VM) or the Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC)