Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL)

Please use this link to download the 2019 VCAL Booklet or use the online ISSUU platform

The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning is a qualification that skills students in preparation for further training and or apprenticeships in trade. The principles of Applied Learning heavily focus on a student centred approach to embed and further develop employability and life skills. At Northern Bay we adopt the approach of developing and fine tuning deep learning using the competencies and student voice to devise theme project based learning.  Northern Bay College has three Certificates from year 10 to 12 based upon individual levels. We integrate curriculum,  based on student choice and needs which reflect the relevant frameworks. Students migrate through the levels building a repertoire of skill sets reflecting their best pieces of evidence in their Portfolio which is formally showcased, in intervals through the duration of the year.  We pride our program on teamwork and communication amongst staff and students to collaborate a dynamic program.


Industry Specific Skills (VET and SBAT below further )

The VCAL learning program must include Vocational Education and Training (VET) units of competency. However, you are not required to focus on or complete any single VET qualification. For example, you can choose to undertake various units of competency from a range of VET qualifications to meet the VCAL requirements, and gain experience in a range of vocational areas. The range of VET options is extensive with recognised training packages available from industries including automotive, engineering, building and construction, hospitality, business, music industry skills, retail cosmetic services, nail technology, hair and beauty, sport and recreation. Alternatively a school based apprenticeship/Traineeship (SBAT) is required to obtain a VCAL certificate.

Structure of the VCAL

VCAL units at each level reflect the progression in the development of knowledge, skills and attributes. For example: 

• At Foundation level, students learn under close supervision with high levels of direction. Knowledge and employability skills development is supported by a strong emphasis on literacy and numeracy skills and preparatory learning. 

• At Intermediate level, learning is reasonably autonomous in regard to planning and work activities but conducted under supervision. Knowledge and employability skills development leads to independent learning, confidence and a high level of transferable skills. 

• At Senior level, learning is autonomous in regard to planning and work activities but conducted under supervision. Knowledge and employability skills development leads to a high level of interpersonal skills, independent action and achievement of tasks that require decision making and leadership. It is important that a clear distinction is able to be made between the three VCAL levels.

Educational and delivery practices

The VCAL program is underpinned by the following curriculum principles:

  • student-centred approaches and decision making regarding program design, delivery and evaluation
  • opportunities for experiential learning and skill development through activities that are structured and sequential in their learning outcomes
  • program design that has high relevance to personal strengths and experiences and is responsive to diverse needs
  • program delivery that builds resilience, confidence and self-worth
  • learning environments that strengthen connections with the community
  • program design that allows students to enter and exit learning programs at each level to pursue a range of pathway options. The following practices should be considered when planning VCAL learning programs for students.
  • Negotiating learning programs. It is important that students are actively involved in negotiating and planning their individual learning program, in particular the VCAL units.