Not just VCE: study options for senior secondary students

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There is a range of options for students in their final years of schooling, in preparing for the move into post-school placements, further education or work.

On this page:

A range of options and supports

There are a range of different school-leaving certificates and programs available, depending on your child’s interests, strengths and future study or work aspirations. Some are school-based, others are delivered through partnerships between the school and community organisations, TAFEs or other training providers, and local businesses.

Victorian schools, whether mainstream or specialist, should work with you and your child to plan towards their post-school options throughout their secondary schooling. Supports are available to assist your child with career planning; supports are also available to student with disabilities in tertiary education and subsequent employment.

See below for a brief description of the main leaving programs and certificates; see the bottom of this page for links to more information.


Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE)

The VCE can be started in Year 10 but is usually completed during Years 11 and 12. It is recognised internationally and provides pathways to further study at university, Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes and the world of work.


Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL)

The VCAL is an applied learning option for senior secondary students offering practical work- related experience as well as literacy and numeracy skills. It provides opportunities to build personal skills that are important for life and work. The VCAL is a recognised senior qualification and focuses on ‘hands on learning’. Students who do the VCAL are more likely to be interested in gaining a TAFE qualification, doing an apprenticeship, or getting a job after completing Year 12.


Vocational Education and Training (VET)

VET programs are vocational training programs that students can undertake while they are still at school. They offer training in specific industries for example, hospitality, horticulture, information technology and automotive. Students receive a nationally recognised training qualification as well as their VCE or VCAL. VET programs are designed to be motivating and engaging for many young people and prepare young people for further education and employment.


Continuation of Program for Students with Disabilities, PSD funding for students turning 19 or older

Students supported by the Program for Students with Disabilities who are aged 19 years or older and are completing an approved VCE/VCAL/VET course in that year may be eligible for continuation of Program for Students with Disabilities funds. The school is required to make a request for continuation of funding.


School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBATs)

SBATs are available to secondary school students from 15 years old who are permanent residents of Australia. SBATs offer students enrolled in the VCE or VCAL the option of combining part-time employment, school and training. The program is undertaken under a training contract with an employer, has a formal training plan and leads to a nationally recognised qualification. It also includes paid work. The vocational training components of SBATs contribute credit towards a senior secondary certificate.


For more information

  • Find out about support for young people with disabilities in tertiary education and subsequent employment through the Australian Government’s National Disability Coordination Officer Programme
  • You can find more information abut VCE, VCAL and School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBATs) visit the DET website and search on the name of the program you are interested in (e.g. “VCAL”)
  • For more about apprenticeships, visit the Australian Apprenticeships