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Minister Merlino sitting on a desk

As you approach the final years of your school life you're probably already thinking about the future and the career you would like to pursue. There are many options and pathways available for school leavers to attain their goals.

In the Education State we create opportunities for every Victorian school student to obtain the skills, knowledge and experience they need to achieve excellence.

The final years at school demand determination, hard work and resilience. The information in this book – Where to Now? Guide to the VCE, VCAL, VET, Apprenticeships and Traineeships – will provide you with advice to help make informed decisions about what pathway to take in Years 11 and 12.

You can choose from two senior secondary qualifications – the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL). They both mark the successful completion of secondary schooling in Victoria. You can also undertake a Vocational Education and Training (VET) certificate or school-based apprenticeship or traineeship as part of your VCE or VCAL.

In 2019 we introduced Head Start, which is a new model for apprenticeships and traineeships for school students. Head Start students spend more time doing important, paid, on-the-job training in priority industries while completing their VCE or VCAL at school. In the first year, students will spend one or two days per week in paid employment, and this increases to three or four days per week in paid employment in the final year. Head Start pathways are currently being offered in over 100 government schools.

There have never been more choices available to Year 12 graduates, including university, TAFE, traineeships and work.

The VCE is a world-class qualification, recognised throughout Australia and around the world for entry to university. You can include VET in your VCE.

The VCAL is a hands-on option that helps you develop knowledge and skills in preparation for apprenticeships, traineeships and employment, as well as further education and training. It gives you practical work-related experience, along with proficiency in literacy and numeracy, and opportunities to develop leadership, teamwork and other vital capabilities for work and later life. You can include VCE studies in your VCAL.

I encourage you to read the stories in this booklet from students who have completed the VCE, VCAL, VET and school-based apprenticeships and traineeships. They have experienced the challenges and triumphs of the senior secondary years and they have great advice that can help you to decide what you want to study.

I am confident that whichever path you choose, the education you have received will lay the foundations for a fulfilling and productive career. I wish you all the best in your final year and beyond.

The Hon. James Merlino MP
Deputy Premier
Minister for Education