Learning Pathways for Your Child

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As your child matures and progresses through secondary school, s/he will consider carefully what future options or pathways to explore, based on personal skills, preferences and career interests.

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), or
  • the 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) in Schools 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), to 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 and Apprenticeships and Traineeships. This is available at www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Pages/wtn/introduction.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 additional 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 at schools. 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 information is available online and is incorporated into curriculum and pastoral programs, especially in Years 9–12.

For more information see:
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 Years 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 to employment. It is also possible to do a nationally recognised Vocational Education and Training (VET) certificate or a School-based Apprenticeship or Traineeship within the VCE.

For more information see:
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 of secondary school. 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) in Schools programs, including training from School- based Apprenticeships or Traineeships as part of their VCAL program, will have developed knowledge and skills and nationally recognised qualifications that employers will value.

The VCAL also 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 for Foundation, Intermediate or Senior level, depending on which level they choose. Students also receive a Statement of Results listing all successfully completed VCE, VET in Schools and VCAL units, as well as a Statement of Attainment for any units completed through VET in Schools programs.

VET (Vocational Education and Training) in Schools

In senior secondary years, your child can choose to undertake a Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Schools program as part of his/her VCE or VCAL.

VET in Schools 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, multimedia and engineering.

VET in Schools programs undertaken as part of a VCE or VCAL allow students to include vocational studies within their senior secondary certificate. Students undertake nationally recognised training from either accredited state curriculum providers or national training packages. The training may contribute to satisfactory completion of their VCE or VCAL.

The VET qualification 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 a VET certificate other than those available through VET in Schools programs, including a School-based Apprenticeship or Traineeship (for example, training undertaken through a part-time apprenticeship or traineeship that is not integrated into their school timetable), s/he may still be able to count such training towards satisfactory completion of the VCE or VCAL.

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 program or as part of a VCAL learning program, or as part of 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 while completing his/her 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 fi local 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/Pages/vet/programs/sbat.aspx or at https://www.vrqa.vic.gov.au/apprenticeships/Pages/for-apprentices-and-trainees.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 online survey, if your child is not studying or training or in full- time employment, s/he 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
Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC)

At the end of schooling, students who wish to go on to further study will 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 1300 364 133
Additional information and resources

See also:
Engaging parents in career conversations

Pathways planning for young people with disabilities.

3 high school boys walking down corridor