Not all secondary school students want to enter a university, and many are thoroughly overwhelmed by the idea. Studying at a uni is a major commitment, and some students aren’t sure what they want to study in the long term. They might consider going into vocational studies, starting an apprenticeship or taking some time off to think about where they want to go with their careers.
What does tend to happen though is that some students become too overwhelmed and don’t finish Year 10 or their gap year turns into gap years, and by that point, they don’t feel ready to get back into the classroom.
The truth is that no matter your circumstances, it’s never too late to go back to school. The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) was created just for students like you who need an alternate route to an education. Learn how the VCAL works and how it can help you launch the rewarding career you’ve always wanted.
What is the VCAL?
The VCAL is an alternate option for students who need to complete Years 11 and 12. If you’re planning on going to a Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institution, then a VCAL may be your best option. It’s an alternative option to completing the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), which more for students who want to attend a university.
The VCAL focuses less on general skills and provides students with the opportunity to create a more tailored learning experience. If you’re interested in auto mechanic work, for example, your VCAL would not require you to take a history course or biology. Instead, you would spend your time in physics classes and any shop classes available.
After completing a VCAL, you will be ready to enter a TAFE Institution, starts an apprenticeship or internship or go right into the workforce.
How does the VCAL work?
There are three levels of VCAL work - Foundation, Intermediate and Senior. Depending on your needs, you may not need to complete a VCAL Senior course. Before you start working towards a VCAL, speak with a counselor to help you determine which is the best level for you and what you’ll need to do to complete a VCAL. Each level takes about one year to complete.
You can complete a VCAL in a number of places, depending on where you are in life. If you’re in the middle of Year 10, your school will more than likely offer VCAL courses. If you’re out of school, you can enrol in a TAFE institution to finish your work. For a complete list, search for your school at the VCAA website and ensure that the courses you want are offered at the school you’re considering.
Once you are certain that you’ve enrolled at the right institution, you can get started on your coursework. It’s important to remember that Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses can also count as VCAL credits. The previous completion of a Victorian Certificate Education (VCE) unit may also count towards a VCAL certificate, provided that you received an ‘S’ in the unit. Each institution is different so speak with a counselor to determine how many prior courses will count towards your VCAL certification.
There are four VCAL strands that must be completed in order for you to receive a full VCAL certification. The strands are:
It is also important to remember that you can complete your VCAL while working part-time or doing an apprenticeship. These can count as credits so make sure you clarify what will count with your counselor.
How can I get started?
If you didn’t finish Year 10 or haven’t been in a classroom for several years, then you may need to tune up your skills before completing the VCAL. Luckily, Kangan Institute is here to help. The Kangan Ready course helps students improve their literacy, communication and numeracy skills as well as incorporate health, well-being and vocational preparation courses into the curriculum so you can be sure that you’ll receive a tailored yet well-rounded learning experience.
The Kangan Ready course lasts for about five months and requires four to five days per week of students’ time. Upon completion of the course, you will receive a Certificate I in Information, Digital Media and Technology. If you decide to go for a full year and complete the VCAL course in its entirety, then you will receive a VCAL Foundation Certificate.
Never feel that you don’t have the skills or the qualifications to go back to school. No matter how long you’ve been out, you can always go back and complete your certifications. With dedication and hard work, you can open up a world of career opportunities that will help you get to your dream job and make more money of the course of your lifetime.