Learning Pathways for Your Child

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As your child matures and progresses through secondary school, they 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)
  • VCE Vocational Major (VM)
  • Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC).

Students may include Vocational Education and Training (VET) in their VCE or VPC, and must include VET to be awarded the VCE VM. Students can accumulate credit towards their VCE, VCE VM or VPC through a VCE VET program approved by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA), an apprenticeship or traineeship, or other VET qualifications.

To help your child plan a program for their senior secondary years, and to find out more about how the VCE, VCE VM and VPC work, the VCAA has produced an excellent guide for students and parents/carers/guardians, titled ‘Where to Now?’. This is available at www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/studentguides/where-to-now/Pages/Index.aspx.

Typically, Catholic schools offer a wide range of studies, and make every effort to tailor a program to match student interests and career aspirations.

Schools also provide pathways for students with diverse 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. 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 is available online and is incorporated into curriculum and pastoral programs, especially in Years 9–12.

For more information, see https://myfuture.edu.au or www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au.

Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE)

The Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) is a qualification that is recognised around the world. The VCE is usually undertaken in Year 11 and Year 12, but many students start in Year 10. It is a valuable pathway to university study, further education and training (for example, at a TAFE), or employment. It is also possible to undertake a nationally recognised Vocational Education and Training (VET) program, including a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship, within the VCE.

For more information, see www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/curriculum/vce/Pages/Index.aspx.

VCE Vocational Major (VM)

The majority of Victorian Catholic secondary schools also offer the VCE Vocational Major (VM). The VCE VM is a new vocational and applied learning program within the VCE. It is usually undertaken in Years 11 and 12, but many students start in Year 10. The VCE VM prepares students to move into apprenticeships, traineeships, further education and training, university (via non-ATAR pathways) or directly into the workforce. Upon satisfactory completion of the VCE VM, students will receive the appellation of ‘Vocational Major’ on their Victorian Certificate of Education.

For more information, see www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/curriculum/vce/Pages/AboutVCEVocationalMajor.aspx.

Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC)

The Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC) is an accredited foundation secondary qualification designed for students in Years 11 and 12 who would benefit from an individualised program at a more accessible level than the VCE or VCE VM. While the VPC is not a senior secondary qualification, it can be a pathway into the VCE or VCE VM, or it can help students move into an entry-level Vocational Education and Training (VET) course or straight into a job.

For more information, see www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/curriculum/VPC/Pages/AboutVPC.aspx.

VET (Vocational Education and Training)

Students can undertake nationally recognised Vocational Education and Training (VET) through either state-accredited curriculum or national training packages as part of their VCE or VPC. They must undertake VET to be awarded their VCE VM. Students may accumulate credit towards their VCE, VCE VM or VPC through a VCE VET program approved by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA), an apprenticeship or traineeship, or other VET qualifications.

VET programs can be undertaken in Years 10–12 and include industry-specific training in areas such as agriculture, building and construction, creative and digital media, engineering, health and hospitality. VET programs provide pathways to university, further education and training (including TAFE), and the workplace, and can often improve students’ chances of getting work when they leave school.

If your child is interested in undertaking a VET program that is not integrated into their school timetable (for example, training undertaken through a part-time apprenticeship or traineeship), they may still be able to count such training towards satisfactory completion of the VCE, VCE VM or VPC.

‘Get VET’ is a VCAA publication highlighting the valuable contribution VET can make to a student’s learning program and future. The online resource allows you to explore the wide range of opportunities available for secondary students to gain an extra qualification, skills, knowledge and workplace experience, creating employment opportunities and educational pathways while contributing towards the VCE, VCE VM or VPC. The suite of Get VET resources can be accessed from www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/studentguides/getvet/Pages/Index.aspx.

For more resources, see www.yourcareer.gov.au/learn-and-train/myskills.

Structured workplace learning

Structured workplace learning enables students to integrate on-the-job experience with secondary study as part of the VCE, VCE VM or VPC. It 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.

Structured workplace learning provides students with the opportunity to:

  • integrate practical experience and learning in workplaces with nationally recognised VET undertaken as part of the VCE, VCE VM or VPC
  • undertake work placement to complement an applied learning program as part of the VCE VM or VPC
  • demonstrate the practical application of work-related skills as part of the VCE study Industry and Enterprise.
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 (i.e. through a nationally recognised VET program) while completing their final years of schooling.

Available to students as part of their VCE, VCE VM or VPC, 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.

Training undertaken as part of a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship may provide credit towards satisfactory completion of the student’s VCE, VCE VM or VPC.

For more information, see www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/curriculum/vet/apprenticeships/Pages/index.aspx.

Student destinations – On Track

On Track is a survey 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 survey, if your child is not studying, training or in full-time employment, they will be offered advice and assistance to access education and training options.

On Track adds to the information previously available to parents/carers/guardians and the by highlighting the diversity of pathways young people pursue after leaving secondary school.

For more information, see www.vic.gov.au/on-track-survey.

Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC)

At the end of schooling, students who wish to go on to further study may need to undergo a selection process. This process is managed by the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC).

For more information, see https://vtac.edu.au or call 03 9926 1020.

Additional information and resources

‘School Leavers Information Kit’ at www.yourcareer.gov.au/school-leavers-support/school-leavers-information-kit.

‘Engaging Parents in Career Conversations’ at www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/teachingresources/careers/parentsframe/Pages/default.aspx.

‘Strengthened Career Education – Parents and Carers Guide’ at www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/teachingresources/careers/Pages/disabilitypathways.aspx.