Our secondary schools offer direct support and advice from career development staff about possible pathways for your child.
Students may undertake either the:
- Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE)
- Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL).
Within these two senior secondary certificates, as part of their learning program, students may undertake Vocational Education and Training (VET) programs, including school-based apprenticeships or traineeships.
The completion of a senior secondary certificate may lead to further studies at universities or colleges of technical and further education (TAFE), training, employment or a combination of these.
To help your child plan a senior secondary program, and to find out more about how the senior secondary certificates (VCE and VCAL) work, the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) has produced an excellent guide for students and parents, titled ‘Where to Now? Guide to the VCE, VCAL, VET, Apprenticeships and Traineeships’. This is available at www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/studentguides/where-to-now/Pages/Index.aspx.
Typically, Catholic schools offer a wide range of subjects and make every effort to tailor a senior secondary program to match student interests and career aspirations.
Schools also provide pathways for students with diverse learning needs. All necessary information and advice are provided by the school.
Career advice and planning
Our schools provide a range of resources and guidance to support your child in making informed choices about the many options available after school.
Career and course information is available through career development staff and year level coordinators. Schools also have materials to assist your child in learning about different careers, including career guides, university and TAFE directories, and employment information. Much of this is available online and is incorporated into curriculum and pastoral programs, especially in Years 9–12.
For more information, see https://myfuture.edu.au or www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au.
VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education)
The Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) is a qualification that is recognised around the world. The VCE is usually undertaken in Year 11 and Year 12, but many students start their VCE in Year 10. It is a valuable pathway to university study, further education and training (for example, at a TAFE), or employment. It is also possible to undertake a nationally recognised Vocational Education and Training (VET) program, including a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship, within the VCE.
For more information, see www.vcaa.vic.edu.au.
VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning)
The majority of Victorian Catholic secondary schools also offer the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL). Students usually begin the VCAL in Year 11 or Year 12. For some Year 10 students, Foundation VCAL may be an appropriate course of study.
The VCAL equips students with the practical skills that employers need. It helps them develop their initiative and resilience, and gain experience in teamwork and leadership.
Students who undertake Vocational Education and Training (VET) programs, including a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship, as part of their VCAL program will have developed knowledge, skills and nationally recognised qualifications that employers will value.
The VCAL gives students the literacy and numeracy skills that are important for work and life. Students will undertake units or modules from four compulsory strands – Literacy and Numeracy Skills, Work Related Skills, Industry Specific Skills and Personal Development Skills.
The VCAL also has the flexibility to allow students to design a study program that suits their interests and learning needs.
The VCAL has three levels – Foundation, Intermediate and Senior. Upon successful completion of the program, the student receives a VCAL qualification, either Foundation, Intermediate or Senior, depending on which level they chose. Students also receive a Statement of Results listing all successfully completed VCE, VET and VCAL units, as well as a Statement of Attainment (or certificate, on full completion of the qualification) from the registered training organisation (RTO) for any VET studies completed.
VET (Vocational Education and Training)
In senior secondary years, your child can choose to undertake a Vocational Education and Training (VET) program as part of their VCE or VCAL.
VET programs provide students with pathways to university, further education and training (including TAFE), and the workplace. These programs include industry-specific training such as hospitality, agriculture, building and construction, creative and digital media, and engineering.
VET units undertaken as part of VCE or VCAL allow students to include vocational studies within their senior secondary certificate. Students undertake nationally recognised training from either state-accredited curriculum or national training packages. The training may contribute to satisfactory completion of their VCE or VCAL.
VET may provide students with access to further training at a TAFE institute or from another training provider. It will often improve their chances of getting work when they leave school.
If your child is interested in undertaking VET training that is not integrated into their school timetable (for example, training undertaken through a part-time apprenticeship or traineeship), they may still be able to count such training towards satisfactory completion of the VCE or VCAL.
‘Get VET’ is a Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) publication highlighting the valuable contribution VET can make to a student’s learning program and future. The online resource allows you to explore the wide range of opportunities available for secondary students to gain an extra qualification, skills, knowledge and workplace experience, creating employment opportunities and educational pathways while contributing towards the VCE or VCAL. The suite of Get VET resources can be accessed from www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/studentguides/getvet/Pages/Index.aspx.
For more resources, see www.myskills.gov.au/career-info/advising-on-careers.
Structured workplace learning
Your child can undertake structured workplace learning to acquire skills and competencies in an industry setting as part of a nationally recognised VET qualification, a VCAL unit or the VCE study: Industry and Enterprise. Structured workplace learning is an important means of supporting and complementing the student’s learning program and developing their skills, with the opportunity to apply their knowledge in an industry setting.
School-based apprenticeships or traineeships
In the past, many young people had to make the hard decision about whether to leave school and pursue an apprenticeship or traineeship, or to stay on and complete their secondary study. A school-based apprenticeship or traineeship enables students to have the best of both worlds. Your child can participate in paid employment (part-time) and undertake recognised, structured training (i.e. through a nationally recognised VET certificate) while completing their final years of schooling.
Available to students as part of their VCE or VCAL, school-based apprenticeships or traineeships assist students in making a successful transition from school to post-school options. They provide multiple pathways to employment, on-the-job training, further education and training (including TAFE), and university. Local industries also benefit from school-based apprenticeships or traineeships because they help to fill skill shortages.
Training undertaken as part of a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship may provide credit towards satisfactory completion of the student’s senior secondary certificate (VCE or VCAL).
For more information, see www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/curriculum/vet/apprenticeships/Pages/index.aspx or https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/Pages/headstart.aspx.
Student destinations – On Track
On Track is designed to ensure that government and non-government school students in Years 10–12 are on a pathway to further education, training or employment after leaving school. Students are followed up in the year after leaving school through an online survey to identify their post-school study, training and/or employment destinations. As part of the survey, if your child is not studying, training or in full-time employment, they will be offered advice and assistance to access education and training options.
On Track adds to the information previously available to parents and the Victorian public by highlighting the diversity of pathways young people pursue after leaving secondary school.
For more information, see www.education.vic.gov.au/about/research/Pages/ontrack.aspx.
Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC)
At the end of schooling, students who wish to go on to further study may need to undergo a selection process. This process is managed by the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC).
For more information, see www.vtac.edu.au or call 03 9926 1020.
Additional information and resources
‘Career planning with your child’ at www.education.vic.gov.au/parents/career-planning/Pages/default.aspx.
‘Engaging Parents in Career Conversations’ at www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/teachingresources/careers/parentsframe/Pages/default.aspx.
‘Strengthened Career Education – Parents and Carers Guide’ at www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/teachingresources/careers/Pages/disabilitypathways.aspx.