What is VCAL?

VCAL stands for the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning and is a practical approach to learning. It is appropriate for students who are interested in going into training at a Technical and Further Education institute (TAFE), start an apprenticeship, a traineeship or to find employment after completing secondary school.

VCAL gives students the opportunity to enter the work force with practical work-related experiences as well as literacy and numeracy skills.

 Alongside VCE, it is recognised as a senior secondary qualification.

What is Applied Learning?

Applied Learning is often described as ‘hands-on’ or practical experiences, which is what VCAL aims to offer its students. It is designed to motivate and empower students whilst assisting them to develop skills and knowledge needed in the work force.

Another important part of applied learning is the holistic approach, which takes into consideration every student’s strengths, interests, goals and previous experiences. Students are encouraged to develop as independent young adults as they are allowed to be responsible for their own learning.

YEAR 11 VCAL IN 2022

2022 is the final year that students will be able to enrol in VCAL. Year 11 students in 2022 will be enrolled in either the Intermediate or Foundation course.
VCAL aims to provide the skills, knowledge, and attributes to enable students to make informed choices about employment ad educational pathways.
The program is divided into four areas with students being required to make a course that covers the requirements of each area.

Strand One: Literacy and Numeracy Skills

The Literacy and Numeracy Skills Strand at year 11 allows students to investigate familiar topics and develop and express their understanding in written and practical ways.

Literacy Skills

Literacy Unit 1 Writing Outcomes 1-4

Writing for Self-Expression
Writing for Practical Purposes
Writing for Knowledge
Writing for Public Debate

Reading Outcomes 5-8

Reading for Self-Expression
Reading for Practical Purposes
Reading for Knowledge
Reading for Public Debate

Literacy Unit 2 Oracy Outcomes 1-4

Oracy for Self-Expression
Oracy for Knowledge
Oracy for Practical Purposes

Numeracy Skills

Numeracy Unit 1 Outcomes

Numerical Skills and Processes
Financial Literacy
Planning and Organising
Measurement, Representation and Design

Numeracy Unit 2 Outcomes

Design a Numeracy-based Project Plan in a Familiar Industry Area
Apply Numerical Skills in an Industry Context
Use Appropriate Software Tools and Devices to Represent Data
Communicate the Results of the Project

Strand Two: Industry Specific Skills

Industry Specific Skills

The Industry Specific Skills strand enables the development of skills, knowledge and attributes related to one or more vocational contexts in preparation for progression to further learning or employment.

The curriculum elected for this strand must be drawn from nationally recognised VET qualifications such as state accredited curriculum or training packages.

Strand Three: Work Related Skills

The curriculum for the Work Related Skills units is designed to develop employability skills, knowledge and attributes valued within community and work environments as a preparation for employment. The development of employability skills provides learners with a capacity to consider and choose from the range of pathways. The development of occupational health and safety knowledge prepares learners for the workplace.

Structured Workplace Learning plays a pivotal role in a student’s ability to complete the WRS outcomes, as much of their evidence will be collected on the job.

Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) Component 

This is usually done for one day per week. The student is supported to find a placement with an employer for “on the job” learning and that is aligned with the VET qualification. Students are required to complete compulsory insurance documentation and Occupational Health and Safety training prior to this occurring.

Work Related Skills

WRS Unit 1 Outcomes

Research and describe OHS roles and responsibilities of the relevant personnel in a selected work environment.
Identify and apply complex OHS procedures in a selected workplace.
Work in a team to plan and undertake a complex OHS activity.
Research and present findings on employment opportunities and conditions in a selected workplace.
Prepare an application for an employment opportunity.

WRS Unit 2 Outcomes

Work in a team to research and plan a complex work-related activity or project.
Describe, analyse and demonstrate employability skills valued in a complex work-related activity or project.
Identify and solve issues relevant to a complex work-related activity or project.
Work cohesively in a team to complete a complex work-related activity or project.
Review and evaluate the process and outcome of a complex work-related activity or project.
Develop and deliver a presentation on a complex work-related activity or project, using appropriate technology.

Strand Four: Personal Development Skills

The PDS Skills Strand at year 11 develops students’ knowledge, skills and attributes for self-development and community engagement.

PDS Unit 1 Outcomes

Plan, organise and carry out a complex activity or project
Demonstrate knowledge and skills in the context of a complex activity or project
Demonstrate self-management skills for goal achievement in the context of a complex activity or project.
Demonstrate interpersonal skills to communicate ideas and information.
Demonstrate leadership skills and responsibilities.

PDS Unit 2 Outcomes

Research and analyse an environmental, cultural, or social issue affecting members of a community.
Plan and organise a complex activity or project concerning an environmental, cultural, or social issue within a community
Use a range of communication strategies to raise awareness of an environmental, cultural, or social issue within a community.
Analyse and apply problem solving skills related to an environmental, cultural, or social issue within a community.
Actively contribute to group cohesion to manage a complex activity or project concerning an environmental, cultural, or social issue within a community.


90% attendance is a critical requirement of the VCAL course.  This applies to all subjects and work placement.  The rigor of the VCAL program is directly linked to attendance.  Many of your outcomes require group work, participation in discussions and presentations by an outside speaker. These outcomes cannot be demonstrated by individual students by themselves at a later date.

Typical VCAL Schedule

Monday: School-based LIT, NUM and PDS Monday: School-based LIT, NUM and PDS
Tuesday: School-based LIT, NUM and PDS Tuesday: School-based LIT, NUM and PDS
Wednesday: TAFE/VET Wednesday: SWL (work placement)
Thursday: School-based LIT, NUM and PDS Thursday: School-based LIT, NUM and PDS
Friday: SWL (work placement) Friday: TAFE/VET

Vocational Education and Training (VET)

This is a Nationally Recognised qualification that is usually done for one day per week. Students choose this specialisation based on their interests and passions. Training can be delivered by a TAFE or another host school which is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Students should speak to their Careers Practitioner to find out the options available to them.

VCAA Student Guides

Visit the website above to discover the wide range of VET courses available to VCE and VCAL students. Explore these helpful Get VET resources including videos and success stories and talk to the relevant teachers or coordinators at your school to assist you on the right pathway.

VET Handbook – sellen

For a comprehensive guide to all the VET programs available for students in our region, visit the above website.