Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning

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The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) is a 'hands-on' program for students in Years 10, 11, and 12 and is a credential awarded to secondary school students who successfully complete year 11 and 12 in the Australian State of Victoria since 2002. The VCAL gives students practical work-related experience, as well as literacy and numeracy skills and the opportunity to build personal skills that are important for life and work.

Like the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), VCAL is an accredited senior secondary school qualification developed by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA).

VCAL is delivered at three levels: Foundation, Intermediate and Senior.

VCAL is a practical education stream, where students may work in a trade or part-time job on some days of the week and supplement this by doing a set course at school.

In 2012, the Victorian Liberal/National Coalition, under the leadership of Ted Baillieu made large funding cuts (over $300m) to the TAFE public education system, a major deliverer of VCAL courses for the youth and mature aged students, and cut funding to Secondary school VCAL programs. This resulted in students being unable to access many courses and job losses for VCAL providers for secondary schools.[1][2]


In November 2019, the Victorian Government commissioned a review into vocational and applied learning at school. The review was led by John Firth, a former head of the VCAA. [3] The report that resulted from the review was published in November 2020, and included a finding that 'Victoria should move to an integrated senior secondary certificate, with vocational education embedded in the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE).'[4]

In response, the Victorian Government announced that the VCAL would be phased out, replaced by new programs with redeveloped curriculum building on VCAL's strengths. Education Minister James Merlino stated that a 'single VCE certificate would make it easier for students to get a range of skills, both academic and vocational.' Merlino also said the reform would be partly in response to the stigma that VCAL was solely for non-academic students. [5]

New programs to replace VCAL began delivery in 2023. At the intermediate and senior levels, VCAL is being replaced by the VCE Vocational Major, a new program within the VCE.[6] At the foundation level, VCAL has been replaced by the Victorian Pathways Certificate. [7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Savage, Alison; Bell, Frances. "Baillieu defends TAFE cuts". ABC News. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  2. ^ Himmelreich, Everard. "MP blasts axing of equine courses". The Standard. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  3. ^ "Review into vocational and applied learning pathways in senior secondary schooling". Victorian Government. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  4. ^ John Firth. "Final Report: Review into vocational and applied learning pathways in senior secondary schooling" (PDF). Department of Education. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  5. ^ Carey, Adam. "Vocational high school certificate to be scrapped". The Age. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  6. ^ Carey, Adam; Precel, Nicole (28 January 2023). "Students to benefit from hands-on reform of VCE". The Age. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  7. ^ "Victorian Senior Secondary Certificate Reform". VCAA. Retrieved 1 February 2022.

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