VCAL Program

VCAL Program Overview                              

What is VCAL?

The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) is a senior secondary certificate program aimed at students in Years 11 and 12 who are interested in taking up a traineeship, apprenticeship, TAFE studies or employment after completing Year 12. VCAL aims to help students develop knowledge and employability skills that will prepare them for work and for participation in civic society. It is not suited to students who are seeking direct entry to university courses or many professional occupations.

What is Applied Learning?

VCAL provides a ‘hands-on’ learning experience that allows students to demonstrate the achievement of key competencies through project based work and practical applications both at school and within industry settings. VCAL provides students with opportunities to undertake practical work-related experience and to develop literacy, numeracy and personal skills that are directly relevant to work and civic life. Where possible, the development of knowledge and skills is targeted for each student to facilitate pathways to specific industry sectors and/or to further vocational learning.

VCAL Program Structure

Students typically complete a VCAL certificate within one year. To be awarded a certificate, students must complete a minimum of ten units. Students who enrol in VCAL at Mount Clear College will typically complete the following combination of units:

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Personal Development Skills
  • Work Related Skills
  • Industry Specific Skills (minimum of 90 nominal hours of accredited VET Modules – see VET & VCAL sections below)
  • An opportunity exists for students to access VCE subjects that suit their chosen pathway

Students typically complete these units over 3 contact days per week and spend the remaining 2 days outside the classroom on work placement and/or completing VET modules at school or off-campus at TAFE (the number of contact days is currently under review).

Levels of Award

Students will be awarded a VCAL certificate at one of the following three levels based on their individual learning needs and abilities:

  • Foundation – students learn under close supervision with a strong emphasis on preparatory literacy and numeracy skills
  • Intermediate – students begin to work independently and to develop key employability skills
  • Senior – students work independently and begin to demonstrate decision-making and leadership capabilities (the Senior Level course is typically suited to students in Year 12)

Vocational Education and Training (VET) and VCAL

Students are required to complete a minimum of 90 hours of Vocational Education and Training (VET) studies or a School Based Apprenticeship (SBA) as part of their VCAL certificate. Students can select from the VET modules and certificates offered at Mount Clear College or outside Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).

For more details, please refer to the VET section of the Subject Selection Handbook.

Work Placements and VCAL

It is a Mount Clear College expectation that VCAL students will use at least one of their non-contact days off campus to complete a practical work placement with an external employer. Students are expected to arrange work placements in businesses or industries that will support their personal career goals.


There are no written tests or exams in VCAL. Since the VCAL curriculum is competency based and underpinned by hands-on learning, students are assessed using a variety of practical methods and must present a Folio of Evidence.

Who is suited to VCAL?

  • Students who have a vocational pathway in mind or are committed to exploring their options through a combination of VET training and practical work placements
  • Students who are employable (punctual, organised, hard-working, team players, etc.)
  • At a Senior level, students who are capable of developing project management and leadership capabilities


VCAL Prerequisites

  1. Entry to VCAL

Students who enter VCAL other than via Pre-CAL must receive an assessment of “Usually” for all of their Work Habits in their most recent report in order to be enrolled above a Foundation level.

  1. Progress between VCAL levels – Foundation to Intermediate and Intermediate to Senior

As a minimum, students must receive a pass mark for the following core VCAL subjects at their current enrolment level (or their VCE equivalent) before they can progress to the next level of award:

  • Literacy Skills Reading & Writing
  • Literacy Skills Oral Communication
  • Personal Development Skills