VCAL at Copperfield College

Copperfield College has an award winning Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) program and has high expectations for all VCAL students to achieve successful outcomes. Copperfield’s VCAL has been developed since 2003 at its Senior Campus located at Delahey.

What is the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL)

The VCAL gives you practical work related experience, as well as literacy

and numeracy skills and the opportunity to build personal skills important for life and work. Like the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), the VCAL is a recognised senior secondary qualification. The VCAL has three levels – Foundation, Intermediate and Senior. Your teacher or careers counselor will help you decide which level is most appropriate for your needs. Students who do the VCAL are likely to be interested in going on to training at a Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institute, starting an apprenticeship, or getting a job after completing school.

At Copperfield College, students also complete Skills for further study (SFFS) during their senior year. The VCAL’s flexibility enables you to undertake a study program that suits your interests and learning needs. Fully accredited modules and units are selected for the following four compulsory strands:

  • Literacy and Numeracy Skills
  • Work Related Skills
  • Industry Specific Skills
  • Personal Development Skills

 If you successfully complete your VCAL, you will receive a certificate and a Statement of Results that details the areas of study you have completed.

What I need to know?

What are the VCAL levels?

The VCAL has three levels – Foundation, Intermediate and Senior. Your teacher or careers counsellor will help you decide which level is most appropriate for your needs.

How long will it take me to complete the VCAL? 

The VCAL has been developed for Year 11 and 12 students. You can get a VCAL certificate and Statement of Results when you successfully complete your VCAL program for the level you have chosen. Many students complete a VCAL level in one year.

What do I get after successfully completing the VCAL?

If you successfully complete your VCAL program at Copperfield College, you will receive a VCAL certificate at either the Intermediate or Senior level, depending on the VCAL level you chose to complete. You will also get a Statement of Results listing all VCAL, VCE and Vocational Education and Training (VET) units.

 What do I need to study?


Your VCAL program must include literacy and numeracy subjects. These can be selected from VCAL literacy skills and VCAL numeracy skills units and/or VCE English and Mathematics units or selected further education studies such as the Certificate in General Education for Adults.


Your VCAL program at the Intermediate and Senior levels must include components of nationally recognised VET qualifications. However, you are not required to focus on, or complete, any single VET certificate. For example, you can choose to complete various units of competency from a range of VET certificates to meet the VCAL requirements and gain experience in a range of vocational areas. The range of VET options is extensive.


In order to develop employability skills, VCAL gives you the choice of undertaking a structured work placement, or a part-time apprenticeship/traineeship, or part-time work. You can also study units and modules that will help prepare you for work, for example occupational health and safety or job interview skills.


As part of your VCAL program you will participate in projects and activities in your community or school that will help develop your teamwork skills, self-confidence and other skills important for life and work. For example, your school may work with the local council to enhance parklands. The learning you gain from being involved in such a project can be counted towards the VCAL.

Skills for further study strand

The purpose of this unit is to enable students to develop knowledge and skills for further study that will prepare and assist them to pursue diverse and higher level education and training pathways in a range of settings.

The unit focuses on developing:

– Time management skills

– Strategies for learning

-Research skills

-A pathway plan

-Portfolios and applications

At Copperfield College students will complete skills for further study during their senior year.

Main features of the program



CHASE is an innovative not-for-profit organisation in which mentors partner with secondary schools and community leaders.

CHASE works to improve health literacy through education and mentoring.

The CHASE program is a yearlong effort which works within the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL). The CHASE program fits into the Personal Development Skills (PDS) Strand of the Year 11 VCAL. The PDS Strand aims to develop knowledge, skills and attributes that lead towards the development of self, social responsibility,building community, civic and civil responsibility (for example through volunteering and working for the benefit of others), improved self-confidence and self-esteem, and valuing civic participation in a democratic society.

CHASE works in synergy with the VCAL, particularly the PDS Strand in a variety of ways.

Over the course of the school year, the CHASE mentors will deliver twelve health-related workshops to secondary school students comprising of two major phases: an Education Phase and an Action Phase. The joint efforts of students and mentors throughout the year are recognised at a Showcase event held at the school in Term 4.

Education phase workshops-

– Nutrition

– Physical health

– Mental health

– Drugs and alcohol

– Sexual health

– Social determinants of health

Action phase workshops

– Project proposal

– Leadership

– Team work and conflict resolution

– Budgeting

– Presentations and Reflection


The CHASE showcase is a major event on the Copperfield Colleges calendar.

The showcase is an opportunity to celebrate the work of year 11 VCAL students and mentors.

Students are encouraged to present their projects to community members, CHASE mentors, year 12 VCAL students and notable local figures such as Members of Parliament.

Western Health

A major requirement for senior students when completing  Personal Development Skills strand, is to be able to plan and organise community based project. This will give the students the opportunity to complete important learning outcomes centred around employability skills of team work, leadership, planning and organising, time management, and decision making.

The partnership between Copperfield College and Western health has been integral to the education and the opportunity for the students to have an impact within our local community. At the start of the year students select which community project they wish to be involved in and from here they must plan and organise in an autonomous manner. Each students is assigned a role for their groups. E.g leader, support leader. Students are also supported by their Western health mentors to provide extra assistance and guidance with the design briefs, budgets, and final presentations.

This is an innovative approach to engage young people with the concept of volunteering and active citizenship. Working closely with the Manager, Community, College and Hospital staff determine the areas of most need to improve patient stay. Students complete group presentations in term 3 to the mentors, Hospital staff and community members.

Work Place Connect (WPC)

WPC Group has over 30 years experience working with industry, schools and various Government Departments to facilitate mentored apprentice and trainee programs. WPC group specialise in finding job seekers apprenticeships and traineeships for Copperfield students.

Since the beginning of the partnership, WPC have had over 40 Copperfield students placed into apprenticeships and traineeships with WPC Group working at Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Victorian Government and the Costa Group.