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Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL)

The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) is a senior school certificate that is based on applied learning. ‘Applied learning’ means that it is a hands-on course that aims to develop skills, which will help prepare students for further education, training or employment.

As a VCAL student at Elisabeth Murdoch College you will strive to:

  • Develop fully your academic, intellectual, social, emotional and physical abilities
  • Think critically
  • Develop a life-long enthusiasm and respect for learning
  • Show respect, courtesy and compassion towards others
  • Show initiative and develop qualities of leadership within the school and wider community
  • Make morally informed decisions derived from exposure to a variety of ideas and opinions
  • Develop a global perspective and the ability to adapt to change




Entry Requirements

There are no entry requirements. Students can enter the VCAL at a level suitable to their learning needs. Teachers and careers counsellors will be able to assist in deciding which level is best for each student.

VCAL Levels

The VCAL has three levels - Foundation, Intermediate and Senior. Senior is the highest level. Students start at a level that matches their needs and abilities. For example, if students start at Intermediate level and successfully complete it, they can move up to Senior level in Year 12. Each level would normally take a year’s program to complete.

What is included in a VCAL program?

The qualification is designed around four curriculum strands.

Strand 1 - Literacy and Numeracy

A VCAL learning program must include literacy and numeracy. This may involve, for example, the literacy and numeracy units from the Certificates of General Education for Adults, VCE maths and English units or the VCAL Literacy or Numeracy units.

Strand 2 - Industry Specific Skills

Your VCAL learning program must include industry specific units from Vocational Education and Training (VET) programs or a School Based Apprenticeship or Traineeship (SBAT).

Strand 3 - Work Related Skills

A VCAL learning program may include part-time work, Apprenticeships, work experience and work placement, as well as units and modules in preparing for work such as occupational health and safety or job interview skills.

Strand 4 - Personal Development Skills

A VCAL learning program must include Personal Development Skills which may involve local and community-based projects, voluntary work and structured activities to help develop self-confidence, teamwork and other skills important for life and work.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is the VCAL assessed?

Students must successfully achieve each learning outcome in each unit or module in the VCAL program. Students do not need grades. If students successfully complete the requirements of a VCE Unit or VCE VET Unit, they will receive a Statement of Results. If students successfully complete a VET or Further Education unit or module, they will receive a Statement of Attainment. These will list all units successfully completed as part of the VCAL program.

What counts towards the VCAL?

If a student has started a VET Certificate, their study can count towards the VCAL. Students should speak with their teacher or careers counsellor to help plan for a VCAL learning program and to work out how much of the certificate has been completed. If a student has already done a VCE subject, this can also count towards the VCAL. For a VCE subject to count a student must have received an ‘S’ (Satisfactory) result for the VCE unit.

How long does it take to complete the VCAL?

Students gain a VCAL Certificate on successful completion of an agreed full-year learning program. For example, VCAL at Intermediate Level could be completed in Year 11, followed by VCAL at Senior Level in Year 12.

Can you work part-time and/or continue an apprenticeship while enrolled in the VCAL?

Students can gain recognition and credit for part-time work while enrolled in the VCAL.

Some forms of work include:

  • Part-time apprenticeship or traineeship
  • Part-time work
  • Work placements
  • Work experience

What do you get after completing the VCAL?

A student will receive a VCAL Certificate at Foundation, Intermediate or Senior level if they successfully complete the learning program. Students will also get a Statement of Results, listing all VCE, VET and VCAL units, and a Statement of Attainment for VET or Further Education courses.

Normally, a student who wants to go to university must have an ATAR score calculated, based on VCE study scores. VCAL programs are not designed to lead to an ATAR score. A student wanting to go to university would be advised to take a VCE program.  The VCAL prepares students for entry into TAFE Certificate courses, apprenticeships and traineeships, and other further education and training.

Where to once you have completed the VCAL?

By doing the VCAL, a student will gain experience useful in the world of work, develop employability skills and a qualification that helps extend their pathways into work, an apprenticeships, traineeships or further education.