Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) contextualises learning in a way that empowers and motivates students, while assisting them to develop key skills and knowledge required for employment, further education and active participation in their communities.
Should I choose VCAL or VCE for my final senior school years?
Students studying for VCAL are most likely to be interested in attending Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes, starting an apprenticeship, traineeship or obtaining employment after completing school. In fact, many of our students are offered employment over the course of the school year and are closely monitored for academic and work readiness in preparation for the end of the year.
If you intend to take up a University offer at the end of year 12 you will need to choose VCE. However, the VCAL pathway does not stop you from applying for University later on as a mature age student. Check the entry requirements with your University before making this decision.
What is Applied Learning?
Applied learning is an approach that emphasises the relevance of what is being learnt to the ‘real world’ outside the classroom, and makes that connection as immediate and transparent as possible. Lavalla Catholic College’s Career Enterprise Opportunity (CEO) provides students with real-life application of the skills and knowledge they need to plan a project or deliver a service. There is also flexibility in their school timetable in years 11 and 12 to participate in the workforce.
As a result of this, applied learning enables students and their teachers to develop partnerships and connections with organisations and individuals outside school. These partnerships provide the necessary out-of-school context for students to demonstrate the relevance of what they have learnt.
The Lavalla Catholic College applied learning team nurture and work with students in a holistic manner, which takes into account their personal strengths, interests, goals and previous experiences. This is not normally the approach of a traditional curriculum.
What are the VCAL Levels?
VCAL has three levels: Foundation, Intermediate and Senior. Students start and complete their VCAL certificate at the level that matches their needs and abilities. It is common for some students to study for the one VCAL level over two years. However, they are encouraged to meet all outcomes over one year. The Senior VCAL certificate requires a strong commitment and can only be achieved by Year 12 students.
The VCAL CEO program also acknowledges that part of the transition from school to work involves being treated as an adult, and that moving students out of the classroom to learn also means helping them to make a shift to become more independent and responsible for their own learning. Learning is student centred therefore, applied learning goals and outcomes are negotiated with students, as well as other stakeholders.
Are there any Entry Requirements?
There are no entry requirements to VCAL, students begin at the level that is suitable to their capabilities. VCAL teachers support students with identifying which level is suitable for each individual.
How long will it take me to complete the VCAL?
VCAL has been developed for Years 11 & 12 students and is completed over the two (2) years. Lavalla Catholic College gives selected Year 10 students the option to undertake Foundation level Work Related Skills and Personal Development Skills.
What do I get after successfully completing the VCAL?
Students who successfully complete the VCAL program receive a VCAL certificate for the level they studied (Foundation, Intermediate or Senior level), along with a Statement of Results, listing all VCAL, VCE and VET units successfully completed.
Can I swap to the VCE if I change my mind?
Yes. Students who change their mind and want to swap to the VCE, or if they want to pursue the VCE after completing the VCAL, any VCE units successfully completed as part of their VCAL will count towards their VCE. Students may also be able to transfer credits for other VET units and modules completed as part of their VCAL.
Students and parents are encouraged to discuss student pathways with their Learning Leaders, Learner Advisors, teachers and careers counsellors to ensure the student has enough credits in their programme to enable them to achieve either the VCAL or VCE certificates. NOTE: Students must meet the English requirements for VCE (Please refer to the “How is VCE assessed”.)
Can I swap over to VCAL from VCE?
Yes, however, it is strongly advised that this takes place within the first 4 weeks of the school year. Due to the structure of the VCAL Careers Enterprise and Opportunity (CEO) programme and the initial 8 weeks intensive delivery in the Skills Acquisition and Training (SAT), those students who miss this important part often struggle to meet the requirements of the certificate level in that calendar year.
How is VCAL assessed?
The VCAL is includes accredited courses/certificates. The VCAL program is assessed by mentor teachers in accordance with assessment requirements for each part of the program. The VCAL’s flexibility enables students to undertake a study program that suits their interests and learning levels.
Fully accredited modules and units are selected for the following four compulsory strands.
Strand 1 - Literacy and Numeracy skills
Your VCAL program must include Literacy and Numeracy subjects. These can be selected from VCAL literacy skills and VCAL numeracy skills units and/or VCE English and Maths units or other further education studies such as the Certificate in General Education for Adults
Strand 2- Industry specific skills
The Intermediate and Senior levels must include components of Nationally Recognised VET programs. Students are not required to focus on or complete any single VET certificate. However, students must complete 90 hrs of a Nationally Recognised VET to be eligible for Intermediate or Senior.
For example, students may choose to complete various modules or units from a range of VET certificates to meet VCAL requirements and gain experience in a range of vocational areas.
The range of VET options is quite extensive.
Strand 3 - Work related skills
In order to develop employability skills, VCAL gives students the choice of undertaking a structured work placement or students can undertake a school based apprenticeship or Traineeship (SBNAT) a part-time apprenticeship/traineeship,.
Students will only be considered for Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) and SBAT’s in Year 11.
Students can also study units and modules that will help prepare them for work, for example Occupational Health & Safety or job interview skills.
Strand 4 - Personal development skills
As part of the VCAL program students participate in projects and activities in the community or school that will help develop teamwork skills, self-confidence and other skills important for life and work.
There is a strong focus on community awareness in which students work with their peers to develop a community awareness project.