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About the VCE Vocational Major

The VCE Vocational Major

Watch further senior secondary pathway options in 2023 videos.

The VCE Vocational Major (VM) is a vocational and applied learning program within the VCE designed to be completed over a minimum of two years. The VCE VM will give students greater choice and flexibility to pursue their strengths and interests and develop the skills and capabilities needed to succeed in further education, work and life.

It prepares students to move into apprenticeships, traineeships, further education and training, university (via non-ATAR pathways) or directly into the workforce.

The purpose of the VCE VM is to provide students with the best opportunity to achieve their personal goals and aspirations in a rapidly changing world by:

  • equipping them with the skills, knowledge, values and capabilities to be active and informed citizens, lifelong learners and confident and creative individuals; and
  • empowering them to make informed decisions about the next stages of their lives through real life workplace experiences.

The 2023 VCE Administrative Handbook to be released later in 2022 will include the VCE VM administrative advice set out on this webpage.

Find out about the VCE VM curriculum.

Find out more about the VCE VM professional learning available for providers.

Completing the VCE Vocational Major

To be eligible to receive the VCE VM, students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 16 units, including:

  • 3 VCE VM Literacy or VCE English units (including a Unit 3–4 sequence)
  • 2 VCE VM Numeracy or VCE Mathematics units
  • 2 VCE VM Work Related Skills units
  • 2 VCE VM Personal Development Skills units, and
  • 2 VET credits at Certificate II level or above (180 nominal hours)

Students must complete a minimum of three other Unit 3–4 sequences as part of their program. Units 3 and 4 of VM studies may be undertaken together over the duration of the academic year to enable these to be integrated.

The VCE VM can be tailored to the needs and interests of the student, to keep them engaged while developing their skills and knowledge. Students can also include other VCE studies and VET, and can receive structured workplace learning recognition.

Most students will undertake between 16-20 units over the two years.

Vocational and applied learning in the VCE Vocational Major

New curriculum in VCE VM 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.

Find out more about the approach to applied learning in the VCE VM curriculum.

Enrolling in VCE Vocational Major studies

Students may only enrol in VM studies if they are undertaking the VCE VM program. There are specific program requirements for the VCE VM, which are in addition to the minimum requirements for satisfactory completion of the VCE.

Providers are expected to run regular Student Eligibility Reports in the Victorian Assessment Software System (VASS) for all VCE VM students to ensure their program will allow completion of the VCE VM program. Providers should contact the VCAA’s Student Records and Results Unit if there are any concerns about the report.

Assessment and certification of the VCE Vocational Major

Assessment of VCE Vocational Major studies

Each VCE VM unit of study has specified learning outcomes. The VCE VM studies are standards-based. All assessments for the achievement of learning outcomes, and therefore the units, are school-based and assessed through a range of learning activities and tasks.

Unlike other VCE studies there are no external assessments of VCE VM Unit 3–4 sequences, and VCE VM studies do not receive a study score. If a student wishes to receive study scores, they can choose from the wide range of VCE studies and scored VCE VET programs that contain both internal and external assessment components.

The VCE VM studies do not contribute to the ATAR. To receive an ATAR a student must complete a scored Unit 3-4 sequence from the English group and three other Unit 3–4 scored sequences. Students must achieve two or more graded assessments in these scored sequences.

Certification

Completing the VCE VM requirements means that students have also completed the requirements of the VCE. Upon satisfactory completion of the VCE VM, students receive recognition through the appellation of ‘Vocational Major’ on their Victorian Certificate of Education 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.

Students who meet the requirements for satisfactory completion of the VCE, but not the requirements for the award of the Vocational Major appellation, will be awarded the VCE.

General advice about the VCE VM Curriculum and Assessment Audit

All schools will be annually audited for one VCE VM study. Schools will be notified regarding the study for which they have been selected for audit in Term 2, 2023. For schools who deliver VCAL units in 2023 to meet the requirements of the VM, a modified VCAL Quality Assurance process will apply. Further information about the Curriculum and Assessment Audit for VM studies and about the 2023 VCAL Quality Assurance process will be published at the start of the 2023 academic year.

VCE Vocational Major students and the General Achievement Test

All students studying at least one Unit 3 and 4 VCE subject (including a VCE VM Unit 3 and 4 subject) or a scored VCE VET subject are expected to sit all or a section of the General Achievement Test (GAT). 

The GAT is a General Achievement Test that measures a student’s general knowledge and skills in written communication, mathematics, science, technology, humanities, the arts and social sciences. It also measures a student’s literacy and numeracy skills against a new standard, introduced in 2022.

The new standard will indicate whether students have demonstrated the literacy and numeracy skills typically expected of someone completing their secondary schooling – giving another indication of their readiness to move onto further education, training or employment.

The reformed GAT follows a comprehensive review conducted by the VCAA. It will see Victoria join other jurisdictions who already incorporate literacy and numeracy standards as part of their senior secondary reporting. The GAT will provide specific information on each student's key skills for life beyond school.

The GAT is an essential part of the VCE assessment process.

While the GAT is important, it does not directly count towards a student’s final VCE results. GAT results are used to check that VCE external assessments and school-based assessments have been accurately and fairly assessed. GAT results may also play a part in determining the final score for a VCE external assessment if a student has a derived examination score approved for that assessment.

No special study is required. Past study of subjects like English, Mathematics, Science and History prepares students for the GAT by building their general knowledge and skills in writing, numeracy, and reasoning.

For more information, see the GAT.

Transition from VCAL to the VCE Vocational Major

Current students completing VCAL units at Intermediate or Senior levels can receive credit into the VCE VM, see further information.

Teach-Out and Award of Intermediate VCAL in 2023

Provision of the VCE Vocational Major

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 VCE VM in 2023 can find information at the Apply to deliver the VCE, VCE VM or VPC page.

Access to the VCE Vocational Major prior to the senior secondary years

The VCE Vocational Major is intended for senior secondary students in mainstream schools, NSSSPs and other educational environments.  It is designed to be completed over a minimum of two years in a senior secondary context.

It is possible for students to enrol in some VCE VM 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 VET, VCE VM units and the F-10 curriculum. 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 Pathways 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 Pathway 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 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, for Structured Workplace Learning credit
  • Students undertake the following year 10 studies in their VET class group;
    • English
    • Maths
    • Health & PE
    • Science (1 semester)
    • Humanities (1 semester)
    • Semester electives
  • Students may access unit 1 and in some cases units 1 & 2 of a VCE VM 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 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 Pathway 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 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.

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 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. Where possible students use this work experience program to gain Structured Workplace Learning credit.

The teaching program of the subjects students access in their homegroup is aligned with VCAA F-10 level 10 studies, but is also designed to provide exposure to Key Skills and Key Knowledge from the VCE Vocational Major studies. The program is therefore underpinned by both the capabilities of the F-10 curriculum and the applied learning principles from the VCE Vocational Major studies.

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 the Dean of VCAL 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.

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.

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)