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What is VCAL?
The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning is an alternative senior program that allows you to complete 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.
Some points that may clarify how VCAL works are…
- If you choose to do the VCAL, you will gain practical experience and ‘employability’ skills as well as the skills you will need to go onto further training in the workplace or at a TAFE institute.
- At Lyndhurst Secondary College, the VCAL Certificate can be studied as a one or two year course and provided students complete all of the required units, they will be awarded a certificate and statement of results for each level and year completed.
- The students who have previously been enrolled in VCAL have been able to benefit greatly from being able to network with potential employers and/or try out an industry to see whether they are interested in going on to an apprenticeship or traineeship.
- As part of your enrolment, you are required to enrol in a TAFE course. All students are encouraged to find an employer in their chosen VET area, who is prepared to provide work placement for them during the second semester.
- If you have already started a VET certificate, you may be able to count this towards your VCAL Certificate. If you have already completed VCE studies, you may be able to count these towards your VCAL Certificate.
- You may commence a VCAL Certificate in Year 12.
- Students enrolled in VCAL at Lyndhurst complete some VCE subjects to help contribute to their VCAL qualifications. Only certain VCE subjects can be counted. Only a limited number of VCE studies are available for selection.
What do I need to do to satisfactorily complete my VCAL certificate?
To successfully complete a VCAL certificate, students must complete a minimum of 10 units. Units are drawn from the areas of Literacy, Numeracy, Personal Development Skills, Work Related Skills and Industry Specific Skills. At Lyndhurst, students are able to complete VCE studies to assist with qualifying for their VCAL certificate. The literacy and numeracy units are aimed at equipping students with the skills and knowledge required for everyday living and working. Students must satisfactorily complete VET units as well as specific core VCAL units in order to be awarded a VCAL qualification.
How is the VCAL course structured at Lyndhurst Secondary College?
Students who wish to undertake VCAL will be required to attend school initially 4 days per week on Monday, Thursday and Friday and either Tuesday or Wednesday depending on their VET/Work placement.)
All VCAL students will attend VET and Work placement on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Apart from completing literacy, numeracy, personal development skills and work related skills units, students in VCAL are also required to select from a limited selection of VCE subjects. Students are required to seek out an appropriate work placement and will be given further instruction on this in Term 1, 2020.
VCE subjects that can be offered may include
Year 11 VCE Units 1 and 2 Studies
- Studio Art
- Business Management
- Physical Education
- Outdoor Education
Year 12 (Senior VCAL) VCE Units 3 and 4 Studies
- Business Management
- Studio Art
- Outdoor Education
Subjects can vary year to year
What is work placement and how do I go about seeking out an appropriate placement?
A work placement is an opportunity given to VCAL students. It allows them to gain practical experience in a workplace associated with their VET course.
During Semester 2, students have a choice to work 1 day a week.
It is the student’s responsibility to seek out appropriate work placement. Assistance may be given via the Careers Resource Room; however we need students to use their networking skills to find an appropriate placement. It is advisable that you begin with focusing on contacts you or your family or friends know. By doing this you are more likely to be given a more meaningful placement that will be more satisfying and rewarding. Except in extraordinary circumstances and subject to discussion with the VCAL and Student Pathways Coordinator, the work placement that students will be required to complete must be related to their chosen VET course. Students are strongly advised to check with their training provider to ensure that the placement they are considering satisfies the requirements of their VET course.
In some cases, students are not required by their training provider to complete work placement. Regardless of this, we have factored in work placement into our timetable for VCAL students. Students must be completing work placement in the time that has been designated. It is a Lyndhurst decision to allow students to undertake work placement as it provides a fantastic opportunity for students to network with potential employers and to experience the reality of work in the industry they are considering entering once they have completed school.
There are numerous legal issues concerning work placement and work experience. Students must make sure the relevant legal forms are completed before commencing a placement. Students must also consider travel arrangements when organising their work placement.
Is VCAL for you?
If you are seriously considering VCAL as an option, it is vital you read through the following points. You need to be able to confidently tick each point. If you have any problems or uncertainties, please make sure you speak to the Senior Sub School or Careers staff.
- VCAL is not a course for students intending going on to university or needing an ATAR score.
- It is a course suited for young people who wish to gain an apprenticeship or traineeship.
- If intending going onto TAFE at the end of Year 12, students should carefully check that they are able to qualify for their TAFE course by completing VCAL.
- A VET/TAFE course must be studied as part of the VCAL certificate each year in order to qualify for each certificate.
- Although the VET/TAFE component of the VCAL program is heavily subsidised by government funding, students will have to pay materials costs of between $50-$800 per year depending on their chosen VET/TAFE course. Please note this must be paid on course counselling day.
- VET/TAFE attendance may require students to be able to make their own way to the location the course is being taught at. This will be at the students own expense.
- Work placement will need to be linked to the VET/TAFE course you are enrolled in.
- Attendance at school, TAFE and work placement is vital if you are to complete your VCAL certificate.
- If you were to change your mind and complete VCE, it is highly likely that this will involve needing to repeat Year 11 although there are some VCE units that have been incorporated into the VCAL program.
- Although students will be completing more practical subjects, there is still a writing/theory component to all classes including VET/TAFE.
- A component of the work completed in VCAL specific subjects are small group projects. This requires you to work with others, be prepared to negotiate, meet deadlines and resolve conflicts. It also involves speaking to an audience and promoting the projects you are completing. Projects students have been involved in include: the School Magazine, devising a handbook for an employer, organising and fundraising for a group camp or project, carrying out tasks that enhance the school environment.
- You may be able to negotiate tasks you may be completing such as volunteer work outside of school to be used for assessment for VCAL
- Students need to be prepared to work independently (with minimal teacher assistance and submit all outcomes and learning tasks by the due date on Compass).
If you have ticked all these components and wish to enrol in VCAL for next year, please consider which VCE subjects and VET course you would like to do prior to Course Counselling Day. A trained counsellor will help you to make these decisions on that day. Please ensure all relevant forms have been completed and you understand what else you may need to do to gain a place in your chosen VET course.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Senior Sub School or Careers staff. Please make sure you share this information with your parents and speak to teachers who already know you and what you’re capable of. It is important that you seek out as much information as possible. You do not want to find yourself regretting your decision next year! If you are unsure about any of the following points, it is very important you ask about them.