Vocational and Applied Learning Pathways integration into the VCE

May 27, 2021

Vocational and Applied Learning Pathways integration into the VCE

In November 2019, the Victorian State Government commissioned a review, completed by John Firth, into the vocational and applied learning pathways in senior secondary schooling. This review had two major aims:

  1. to ensure all Victorian secondary school students have access to high-quality vocational and applied learning options; and
  2. to look for ways to improve transitions for students between school, post-secondary education and work.

This review was completed in early 2020 and was released, along with the State Government’s response, in November 2020. The review found that while the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) had many positive outcomes for students in terms of student achievement and preparation for employment, overall, the VCAL pathways were perceived inferior by the community. The overarching perception was VCAL was more suited to students who would otherwise struggle within the equivalent Victorian Certificate of Education.

In accepting, in principle, all the recommendations from the review, the State Government has decided that the VCAL program, as a stand-alone senior certificate, will cease to exist by 2025. In its place will be the development of new vocational and applied pathways within the VCE. These changes will have an increased emphasis on enhancing and reporting on employability skills and the development of new subjects in areas of industry demand. As future changes are known they will be communicated with the SPC community through the subject selection process.

In 2022, St Patrick’s College will begin to integrate the applied learning programs solely into the VCE. Students in Year 12 in 2022 will be able to enrol in the Senior VCAL program, allowing current Year 11 VCAL students to complete their certificate at the highest level. Students entering Year 11 in 2022 will not be enrolled in VCAL and will be undertaking the VCE.

Students will still be able to undertake studies in Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses and School-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SBATs) as part of the VCE. Students undertaking these studies must carefully consider the complementary subjects to their vocational pathway subjects and are encouraged to discuss their selections with St Patrick’s College staff prior to the submission of their final choices. Information regarding VET, SBATs and VCE subjects are found in the subject selection booklets and through the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) website.

The current VCAL program has been extremely successful in preparing students for the workforce upon leaving SPC. The teachers who have contributed to its success over the past five years are to be congratulated on their dedication to supporting and challenging students to achieve their best within this program. The College now looks forward to continuing the development of students as they work towards attaining the VCE alongside their vocational pathways.