Gillies St Main Campus & Farm/Senior Campus: - Phone (03) 5334 1302

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What is VCAL?

The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning is a 'hands-on' option for students at Ballarat Specialist School FARM Campus. The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) is a senior secondary certificate of education recognised within the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

VCAL is a pathway to Technical and Further Education (TAFE), apprenticeships/traineeships or employment. The aim of VCAL is to provide the skills, knowledge and attributes to enable students to make informed choices about employment and education pathways.

Personal development, students’ interests and pathways for senior secondary students, in the context of applied learning, underpin the design of VCAL. There are 3 Levels of VCAL. They are Foundation, Intermediate and Senior.

All VCAL Ballarat Specialist School Senior School students undertake a Foundation certificate. What subjects are offered in VCAL? The VCAL has four curriculum areas, called strands.

These strands are:

  • Literacy and numeracy skills
  • Industry specific skills
  • Work related skills
  • Personal development skills.

VCAL units are designed to meet the purpose of the strand to which they contribute credit to. Each VCAL unit contains accredited learning outcomes that must be satisfactorily completed in order to meet the requirements of that unit.


Reading & Writing The purpose of this strand is to enable students to develop knowledge, skills and attributes to read and write simple or short texts. Texts will deal with mainly personal and familiar topics but may include some unfamiliar aspects.

At this level students, often with support, use the writing process with an awareness of the purpose and audience of the text.

In reading students are able to identify the main point of the text, some key details and express an opinion about the text as a whole as well as some of the details.
Oral Communication The purpose of this strand is to enable students to use and respond to spoken language, around every day subject matter, which may include some unfamiliar aspects, for a range of purposes in a number of contexts, which may be interrelated.


The purpose of this strand is to enable students to develop the confidence and skills to perform simple and familiar numeracy tasks and to develop the ability to make sense of mathematics in their daily personal lives. The mathematics involved includes numbers and data, financial literacy, time and location, measurement and design and the use of software tools and devices.

Personal Development Skills: The purpose of this strand is to develop student knowledge, skills and attributes that lead to self-development and community engagement through: family, social, community and environmental responsibilities, resilience, self-esteem and efficacy, health and wellbeing, and valuing participation in a democratic society.

Industry Specific Skills

Work Related Skills: The purpose of this strand is to develop student skills, knowledge and attributes valued within community and work environments as a preparation for employment. The development of employability skills within this strand provides students with a capacity to explore, consider and choose from a range of pathways. Knowledge and understanding of occupational health and safety (OHS) is integral to student preparation for a variety of community and work environments.

Structured Workplace Learning: Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) is a valuable opportunity for a VCAL student to integrate on-the-job training with their VET program. Participating in SWL is NOT a compulsory part of the VCAL, however it is highly recommended. SWL provides the context for: enhanced skill development, practical application of industry knowledge, assessment of units of competency, achievement of some learning outcomes for VCAL units, and enhanced employment opportunities.