Vcal Courses | What Is Vcal | Vcal Victoria | Youth Central

The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) is a hands-on option for students in Years 11 and 12. VCAL can lead to apprenticeships, TAFE and training courses, or even get you a job. 

What is VCAL?

Like the VCE, the VCAL is a recognised senior secondary qualification. Unlike the VCE, which is widely used by students as a pathway to university, the VCAL focuses on 'hands-on learning'.

Students who do the VCAL are more likely to be interested in:

  • going on to training at TAFE
  • doing an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • getting a job after completing Year 12.

Choosing VCAL subjects

The VCAL's flexibility lets you design a study program that suits your interests and learning needs. You pick from a range of subjects that match the four compulsory strands of study, which are:

  1. Literacy and Numeracy Skills
  2. Industry Specific Skills
  3. Work Related Skills
  4. Personal Development Skills.

For more explanation about the four strands, check out:

The best way to make a decision about what subjects to do is to work backwards:

  1. Think about what kind of job you want.
  2. Find out what skills or qualifications you’ll need.

You can start your research with our Career profiles section.

What VCAL leads to 

When you complete your VCAL you'll receive a certificate and a Statement of Results.

Your VCAL qualification will be recognised by TAFE institutes and employers, which will help you move straight from school to:

  • an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • further training at TAFE 
  • getting a job.

For more about these options, check out our Apprenticeships and traineeships section and our TAFE and training page.

Switching between VCAL and VCE

If you change your mind and either want to start or stop doing VCAL, it's completely possible to change from one kind of secondary study to the other.

  • If you're doing VCAL and decide you'd prefer to switch to VCE, any VCE subjects you've successfully completed as part of the VCAL program will count towards your VCE.
  • If you're doing VCE and you decide you want to change to VCAL, any VCE or VET subjects you've completed successfully will count towards your VCAL.

For more information about changing your studies, it's a good idea to talk to your school career counsellor to find out all about the options open to you.

Finding a VCAL school

The VCAA Schools and Studies Search tool can help you to find a school near you that offers VCAL studies.

More information

For more information about VCAL, and to have any questions answered, get in touch with your school careers counsellor or contact the VCAA on 1800 134 197 or

Links to more information

VCAL Information for Students and Parents  an overview of VCAL, including information about VCAL subjects and what is expected from VCAL students

VCAL - The Hands-On Option for Year 11 & 12 Students – a downloadable booklet about VCAL, available in a range of languages