The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) is a senior secondary certificate of education recognised within the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).
VCAL is a pathway to Technical and Further Education (TAFE), university, apprenticeships/traineeships or employment.
The VCAL is accredited and issued at three award levels:
- Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (Foundation)
- Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (Intermediate)
- Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (Senior).
The three qualification levels cater for a range of students with different abilities and interests. They also provide a progression in the development of skills, knowledge and attributes.
Aims of the VCAL
The qualification aims to provide the skills, knowledge and attributes to enable students to make informed choices about employment and education pathways. Personal development, students’ interests and pathways for senior secondary students, in the context of applied learning, underpin the design of VCAL.
The VCAL certificate at Intermediate and Senior level recognises completion of a senior secondary qualification and primarily prepares students for further studies at the next VCAL level, in the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), in Vocational Education and Training (VET), in Further Vocational Education and Training (FE) and/or employment.
There are no formal entry requirements for VCAL studies. The VCAL has been designed to accommodate flexible entry and exit. Students can enter at the appropriate level of VCAL to suit their learning needs, abilities and interests. Parameters for entry and exit in schools will be determined by school regulations and enrolment guidelines.
If a provider that is not a school delivers VCAL, flexible entry and exit points will be determined by the policies and regulations of that education provider.
The three VCAL qualification levels provide flexible entry and exit points for a range of student abilities and interests and offer a clear progression for knowledge, skills and attributes.
Each of the three VCAL award levels has a nominal duration of 1000 hours, which typically is a mix of class time and independent learning. However, the nominal hours (including both scheduled and unscheduled contact hours) may vary when considering the specific needs of each student.
Structure of the VCAL
A VCAL program must be designed to meet the VCAL course requirements, ensuring that the curriculum selected is consistent with the purpose statement of the curriculum strand at the award level.
Each student should be enrolled in a program that includes curriculum from each of the following strands:
- Literacy and Numeracy Skills
- Industry Specific Skills
- Work Related Skills
- Personal Development Skills.
To be awarded a VCAL qualification, students must successfully complete a program that contains a minimum of 10 credits. A credit is gained for successful completion of a unit of study. A unit of study can be:
- one VCAL unit
- one VCE unit
- 90 hours of completed VET modules or units of competence and/or FE modules.
A student’s VCAL 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 VCAL Intermediate and Senior levels, the learning program must also include accredited VET curriculum components to the value of a minimum of one credit in the Industry Specific Skills strand.)
- 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.
*If using VCAL units to meet the eligibility requirements of the literacy component of the VCAL Literacy and Numeracy Skills Strand, the Reading and Writing unit must be completed at the award level or above. If using VCAL units to meet the eligibility requirements of the numeracy component of the VCAL Literacy and Numeracy Skills Strand, a Unit 1 numeracy unit must be completed.
Students may carry credit forward from the previous award level into the level in which they are currently enrolled. However, credits allocated at Foundation level (VCAL Foundation units, VET and FE units at Level 1) cannot contribute to the Senior Level.
One credit is awarded on successful completion of 90 nominal hours of accredited VET curriculum.
The VCAL program may also contain curriculum components drawn from VCE studies and FE accredited curriculum. One credit is awarded on successful completion of 90 nominal hours of accredited FE/VET curriculum, or on successful completion of a VCE unit.
Further information about the VCAL qualification and the requirements of a VCAL program please refer to the
VCE and VCAL Administrative Handbook.