The requirements of the VCAL course

To achieve their VCAL certificate, students must meet three requirements.

1.) Demonstrate competency in each of the five strands by completing at least one subject from each strand.
The strands are:
   •  Literacy Skills
   •  Numeracy Skills
   •  Personal Development Skills
   •  Work Related Skills
   •  Industry Specific Skills

2.) Complete at least two VCAL subjects

3.) Complete a total of 10 subjects (although the aim is 16 units)

At GGS, VCAL students complete an additional VCE subject on top of the above course requirements, which contributes credit to their program. This ensures they are developing a range of skills, are maintaining close ties with their peer group, and are not at risk of not passing the course if they cannot pass particular units.

If you think the Victorian Certificate of Applied learning (VCAL) is the pathway for you, then you need to continue to read this Course Selection Handbook.

What might a VCAL programme at GGS look like?

Below is one example-

Strand    VCAL Requirements met 
Literacy Skills  VCAL Senior Literacy - Reading and Writing
VCAL Senior Literacy - Oral Communication 
Literacy Strand met
Two VCAL units met 
Numeracy Skills  Further Mathematics Unit 1  Numeracy Strand met 
Personal Development Skills (PDS)  VCAL Senior Personal Development Skills 1
VCAL Senior Personal Development Skills 2 
PDS Strand met 
Work Related Skills (WRS)  Product Design and Technology Unit 1 
Product Design and Technology Unit 2
Product Design and Technology Unit 3
Product Design and Technology Unit 4
WRS Strand met 
Industry Specific Skills 

VET course in Certificate III in Design Fundamentals

*(School-based Apprenticeships can also be used to meet this strand)

Industry specific strand met 
  Business Management Unit 1 
Business Management Unit 2
Business Management Unit 3
Business Management Unit 4

*School based apprenticeships and traineeships (SBATs)
SBATs are an option for a select few students.

For more information on SBATs, students and parents should contact the Careers Coordinator and review the Victorian DET School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBATs) Guide.

VET Courses

The following VET classes can be completed by VCAL students and are delivered by GGS:

  • VETiS Music

VCAL students wishing to study any VET courses offered through the Gordon TAFE or another provider will need the approval, and there will be additional costs involved. Applications open in August 2021 for the 2022 Academic Year. For more information on VETiS courses at the Gordon follow this link:

Enrolling in VCAL

Students wishing to enrol in VCAL in 2022 should make the appropriate selections on their Course Selection online request sheet.

Those students will then be invited to complete a formal application form for selection into the VCAL Program. This selection process will be completed early Term Three.

Applicants will need to prove their suitability for the program and will be interviewed by a panel.

Please note acceptance to the VCAL Program is not automatic and all applicants will be assessed on merit and on the space available.

VCAL Core Subjects

Personal Development Skills

Topic Overview- The Personal Development Skills units recognise learning that is valued in the community and develop the knowledge, skills and attributes identified in this strand. The units emphasise the importance of self and connection to the community through locally developed programs. Students apply their learning through community-based projects, both internally and externally.

PDS Senior 1- This unit focuses on the development and implementation of appropriate knowledge, skills and attributes in relation to: resilience, self-esteem and efficacy; health and wellbeing; family and social connectedness; environmental awareness; critical and creative thinking; self-directed planning and organisational skills; problem-solving and interpersonal skills; collaborative skills; leadership and decision-making skills for group work and teamwork and builds directly on skills learned at the intermediate level.

PDS Senior 2- This unit focuses on the development and implementation of appropriate knowledge, skills and attributes in relation to: community engagement; social and environmental awareness; participation in a democratic society; social connectedness; critical and creative thinking; planning and organisational skills; problem-solving and interpersonal skills and builds directly on skills learned at the intermediate level.

Assessment- Students may sit school-based assessments that includes written work, oral presentations, object production and project implementation. Students must be observed to demonstrate achievement of a learning outcome on more than one occasion and in different contexts to ensure the assessment is valid, reliable, fair, flexible and equitable. Detailed assessment information can be found in the Study Design (see below).

VCAL Literacy Senior

Topic Overview-  The purpose of the literacy curriculum selected for this stand is to enable the development of knowledge, skills, and attributes relevant to reading, writing and oral communication and their practical application in the contexts of everyday life, family, employment, further learning and community.

Reading and Writing- The purpose of this unit is to enable students to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes to read and write complex texts. The texts will deal with general situations and include some abstract concepts or technical details. At this level, students produce texts that incorporate a range of ideas, information, beliefs or processes and have control of the language devices appropriate to the type of text.

Students identify the views shaping the text and the devices used to present that view and express an opinion on the effectiveness and content of the text. At the end of the unit students will be able to read, comprehend and write a range of complex texts across a broad range of contexts.

The unit is broken into 4 separate areas of study:

-Public Debate
-Practical Purposes

Oral Communication-  The purpose of this unit is to enable students to develop the skills and attributes to speak in complex discussion. A supportive and encouraging learning environment needs to be developed so that students feel comfortable to take risks and participate safely. Students should not be forced to participate until they feel safe to do so. By rotating turns and scaffolding skills, students can develop this confidence. Establishing a consensus on guidelines for talks and discussions by listening to and respecting others is important.

At the end of this unit students will be able 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.

Assessment- The purpose of VCAL assessment is to measure a student’s achievement of a learning outcome by collecting evidence about their performance and making a judgment about whether they have met the requirements of that learning outcome. These requirements are clearly outlined in the elements of each learning outcome.


VCE - The Victorian Certificate of Education
VCAL - The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning
VETiS - Vocational Education & Training in Schools
SBA - School-based Apprenticeship
VCAA  -The Victorian Curriculum & Assessment Authority
STUDY - A subject. Most VCE studies are made up of 4 units (Unit 1 & 2 in Year 11 and Unit 3 & 4 in Year 12).
UNIT - A self-contained study of a semester’s length representing about 100 hours of work, of which 50-60 hours are class time.
RTO - Registered Training Organisation
SEMESTER - A half year
UNITS 1 & 2 - Level of difficulty usually associated with Year 11
UNITS 3 & 4 - Level of difficulty usually associated with Year 12
LEARNING OUTCOMES - What you must know, by the time you have finished a Unit.
S/N - S - refers to satisfactory completion N - refers to work that has not reached a satisfactory level
SATISFACTORY COMPLETION - A Unit of work has been satisfactorily completed when all of the outcomes have been met as specified in the Study Design. Students will be made aware of the criteria for satisfactory completion of each unit. 90% attendance and meeting are two of the criteria.
SCHOOL ASSESSED TASK (SAT) - A task done in school in design or practical-based studies to assess how you are performing in Units 3 & 4, set and marked by teachers, and reviewed externally by VCAA.
SCHOOL ASSESSED COURSEWORK (SACS) - The assessment of coursework, done mainly in class time, to establish how you are performing in Units 3 & 4.
VTAC - The Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre which organises the process by which students apply and gain entry to a tertiary course.
GAT - The General Achievement Test done by all students doing a Unit 3 & 4 sequence. It is used by the VCAA to check that schools are marking school assessed course work to the same standard.
ATAR - Australian Tertiary Admission Rank