The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) is a 'hands-on' option for students in Years 11 and 12. Like the VCE, the VCAL is a recognized senior secondary qualification. Unlike the VCE, which is widely used by students as a pathway to university, the VCAL focuses on 'hands-on learning'. Students who do the VCAL are more likely to be interested in going on to training at TAFE, doing an apprenticeship, or getting a job after completing Year 12. At Cranbourne East Secondary College, we offer a high quality VCAL program which is designed to develop and extend pathways for young people. On completion of VCAL, students will be able to make informed choices about employment or education pathways. Meaningful pathways are created by linking student aspirations and future employment goals to the choice of accredited curriculum, as well as connecting VCAL learning programs to work and industry experiences and active participation in the community.

VCAL Levels

The VCAL is accredited at three levels:

Foundation level

  • At this level the focus is on basic and preparatory knowledge and employability skills. There is also a strong emphasis on literacy and numeracy skills.

Intermediate level

  • At Intermediate level the focus is on knowledge and employability skills development that leads to independent learning, confidence and a higher level of transferable skills.

Senior level

  • At Senior level the focus is on knowledge and employability skills that lead to a high level of interpersonal skills, independent action and achievement of tasks that require decision making and leadership.

VCAL Curriculum Strands

Each VCAL award level contains four curriculum strands:

  • Literacy and Numeracy Skills
  • Personal Development Skills
  • Industry Specific Skills
  • Work Related Skills


The purpose of literacy curriculum selected for this strand is to enable the development of skills, knowledge and attitudes in literacy that allow progression in the main social contexts of family, employment, further learning and citizenship. Literacy skills corresponding to these social contexts include literacy for self-expression, practical purposes, knowledge and public debate. Literacy includes reading, writing and oral communication skills.


Numeracy is the ability to use mathematical skills to carry out purposes and functions within society related to designing, measuring, constructing, using graphical information, money, time and travel, and the underpinning skills and knowledge for further study in mathematics or related fields. Curriculum selected for numeracy in this strand should develop skills to facilitate the practical application of mathematics at home, work and in the community.

Personal Development

The purpose of the Personal Development Skills Strand is to develop knowledge, skills and attributes that lead towards:

  • The development of self
  • Social responsibility
  • Building community
  • Civic and civil responsibility, for example through volunteering and working for the benefit of others
  • Improved self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Valuing civic participation in a democratic society

Industry Specific Skills

The purpose of the Industry Specific Skills Strand is to enable the development of skills, knowledge and attitudes related to one or more vocational contexts in preparation for progression to further learning or employment. Specific VET units are used to meet the curriculum components of this strand.

Work Related Skills

The purpose of the Work Related Skills Strand is to develop employability skills, knowledge and attitudes valued within community and work environments as a preparation for employment. The development of employability skills within this strand provides learners with a capacity to consider and choose from a range of pathways.

Skills for Further Studies (Year 12 Senior VCAL)

The purpose of this unit is to enable students to develop knowledge and skills for further study that will prepare and assist them to pursue diverse and higher level education and training pathways in a range of settings. The unit focuses on developing:

  • Time management skills
  • Strategies for learning
  • Research skills
  • A pathway plan
  • Portfolio and applications

Structured Work Placement (SWP)

SWP is an essential part of Vocational Education and Training (VET). Young people who do a VET program need to practise their skills to complete their qualification. For some VET programs a SWP is compulsory. It is a requirement of the VCAL Work Related Skills unit that students have a SWP organised for one day a week. Students will be required to maintain a journal as this will contribute to their final assessment. It is a legal requirement that students are undertaking the OH&S units within their VET program prior to commencing a work placement. Safe@Work online assessments must also be completed and updated yearly. Students whose SWP is on any type of construction site MUST have a ‘Construction Work Safe Card’.


VET is a compulsory part of the VCAL Intermediate and Senior levels. However, students are not required to focus on or complete any single VET certificate. For example, they may choose to undertake various units from a range of VET certificates. This would be an ideal option for a student who is undecided about which pathway best suits them.

School Based Apprenticeship or Traineeship

A School Based Apprenticeship or Traineeship (SBAT) can offer the opportunity to combine school with part-time employment and VET. It requires approximately two days a week consisting of both training and employment.
Generally, an employer is sourced by the student; however, the VCAL/VET coordinator or Careers coordinator can also assist in the process.


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