Croydon Community School

Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL)

VCAL Overview

As part of Croydon Community School’s Big Picture Senior Program, all Year 11 and 12 students are enrolled in the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL).

The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) is a senior qualification designed to provide pathways for Years 11 and 12 students who are interested in vocationally orientated career options or moving straight into employment.

The course gives students practical work-related experience, as well as the literacy, numeracy and personal skills that are important for life and work. It allows students to earn a qualification in their interest area while they are still in secondary schooling. Students have real-world learning in workplaces as part of their weekly timetable, along with TAFE, community programs and their individual learning plan.

The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) is usually studied over one or two years at Croydon Community School. In some circumstances students may do their senior program over three years.
VET is essential in VCAL.

Our aim is to offer as much flexibility as possible and to suit individual needs, abilities and interests. 

VCAL Design

The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) is accredited at three levels:

  1. Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (Foundation)
  2. Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (Intermediate)
  3. Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (Senior)

The three levels will ensure that there are achievable learning targets for a range of students.

VCAL Curriculum Strands

Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) programs consist of four curriculum strands. The four strands are:

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

The units and modules selected in each curriculum strand could comprise units from VCE, VET and Further Education and/or VCAL units accredited by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA).

Strand 1 – Literacy and Numeracy

This may include for example, the Literacy and Numeracy units from the VCAL/VCE English and VCAL/VCE Maths units.

Strand 2 – Industry Specific Skills

This may include industry specific units from VET programs, VCE VET or VCE Technology programs.

Strand 3 – Work Related Skills

This may include part-time work, apprenticeships, traineeships, or structured workplace learning – and units such as Occupational Health and Safety or planning for employment or further VET Certificates.

Strand 4 – Personal Development Skills

This may include local and community based projects, voluntary work and structured activities to help develop self-confidence, teamwork and other skills important for life, employment and active citizenship.

Who is VCAL suited to?

The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning could be considered by students who:

  • Are interested in apprenticeships or traineeships
  • Do not want to go to university
  • Do not require an ATAR score
  • Want a Year 11 and/or Year 12 Certificate
  • Want to stay at school to complete their secondary education
  • Are more attuned to applied “hands on” learning
  • May want to go out to work when they finish school
  • Wish to pursue Higher Education at TAFE or ACE (Adult Community Education) providers in the future
  • Want to develop more confidence in the workplace
  • Want to gain maturity before they take future steps

Structured Workplace Learning

Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) students are encouraged to complete one day in the workplace each week. The work arrangement should be made by the student but must be approved by the school. No student is permitted to be in a placement without the required Structured Workplace Learning form signed by all parties. Where students are having difficulty finding a placement the school may be able to assist.

Students may also decide to undertake a School Based Apprenticeship or Traineeship (SBAT) as part of their VCAL. At Croydon Community School & OPTIONS we work with atEAST to find suitable school based apprenticeships and traineeships for students who are interested in a specific industry. Our students may also be able to access the Head Start program which focuses on three year SBATs commencing in Year 10.

Commitment to the Program

Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) students need to be committed to their individual program. The school, VET provider or TAFE and the workplace need to work together for the program to be successful. Where students are experiencing any difficulties in any area it is very important to make contact with their Advisor without delay. Students could be jeopardising their VCAL Certificate if there is a problem in any area.

Part-Time Work

Students should inform the Pathways Coordinator if they are in part-time work arrangements. There are occasions when part-time work can contribute credit towards their VCAL or VCE. Each case is different and needs to be individually assessed.



VCAL Certificate / Statement of Results / VET Certificate and/or Statement of Attainment – where appropriate.

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 Further Education 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.

Ms. Bronwyn Harcourt

Assistant Principal
Mrs. Kaye Bhan

61-77 Croydon Road
Croydon, VIC 3136

P.O. Box 239
Croydon, VIC 3136

(03) 9724 2900

(03) 9724 2999