Policy last updated
18 July 2022
This policy outlines the provision expectation for the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Vocational Major and Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC) for Victorian government secondary schools from 2023.
- Victoria is moving to a new integrated senior secondary certificate that will bring together the VCE and the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL).
- All students should be supported to choose and access the pathway that best aligns with their strengths, interests and aspirations at their local government school.
- From 2023, all Victorian government secondary schools will be expected to provide:
- the VCE Vocational Major
- the VPC where it is a suitable and agreed pathway for students at the school.
- Provision of the VCE Vocational Major and VPC means that Literacy, Numeracy, Work Related Skills and Personal Development Skills studies are delivered on-site by the school.
- The department and Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) will support Victorian government schools to prepare for delivery of the VCE Vocational Major and VPC throughout 2022.
- There are limited exceptions to the certificate provision expectation, namely selective entry, specialism, specialist and specific purpose schools, and schools not providing education to Years 11 and 12 students. While the provision expectation will not apply to these schools, they are encouraged to provide the VCE Vocational Major and VPC where it is suitable for their student cohort. The Secretary may also approve a time limited exception from the provision expectation in limited circumstances (refer to the ‘Student demand for the VCE Vocational Major or VPC’ section below).
The new certificate framework
- the VCE Vocational Major will replace the existing VCAL at the Intermediate and Senior levels. The VCE Vocational Major is a 2-year vocational and applied learning program that will enable transitions into apprenticeships, traineeships, further education and training and university (via non-ATAR pathways)
- the new VPC will be introduced as an inclusive Year 11 and 12 certificate that will replace VCAL at the Foundation level and will meet the needs of a smaller number of students not able or ready to complete a certificate at the VCE level. The VPC is benchmarked at Australian Qualifications Framework Level 1 and not recognised as a senior secondary certificate of education. This certificate should be provided to students on an as-needs basis, with discussions about the VPC’s suitability for a student best conducted between the school, student and their family.
For more information on the transition arrangements and timelines, refer to the VCAA’s Senior Secondary Certificate website.
VCE Vocational Major and VPC curricula and support materials are available on the VCAA’s .
The VCAA has developed the VPC Suitability Guidelines to inform decision-making regarding the appropriateness of the VPC for individual students before they are enrolled in the certificate.
VCE Vocational Major
All Victorian government secondary schools, including those not currently offering VCAL, will be expected to provide the VCE Vocational Major from 2023.
Provision of the VCE Vocational Major means that VCE Vocational Major Literacy, Numeracy, Work Related Skills and Personal Development Skills studies are delivered on-site by the school.
Victorian Pathways Certificate
In addition to the VCE Vocational Major, all Victorian government secondary schools will be expected to be ready to provide the Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC) from 2023, and will need to provide it where it is a suitable and agreed pathway for students at the school.
Provision of the VPC means that VPC Literacy, Numeracy, Work Related Skills and Personal Development Skills studies are delivered on-site by the school.
In the case of single or low student numbers, schools can determine how to deliver the VPC according to their context and operational requirements. For example, schools may choose to deliver the VPC on-site with VPC students working in the same classroom as other students, for example, those undertaking the VCE Vocational Major. The VCAA’s support materials for the VPC Curriculum and VCE Vocational Major Study include guidance on teaching VCE Vocational Major and VPC students in the same classroom.
Vocational Education and Training
Schools will continue to be able to provide access to Vocational Education and Training (VET) components off-site through a third-party provider, such as a TAFE, registered training organisation or on the campus of another school.
The minimum requirements for the VCE Vocational Major includes 2 VET credits at Certificate II or above (180 nominal hours).
Providing access to a ‘core VET offering’ of priority VET certificates that align to jobs growth areas and Victorian Government priorities is not a requirement to deliver the VCE Vocational Major.
Exceptions to the provision expectation for the VCE Vocational Major and VPC
The following schools are excepted from the provision expectation for the VCE Vocational Major and VPC:
- selective entry schools
- specialism schools
- schools registered as specialist schools with the VRQA
- schools registered as specific purpose schools with the VRQA
- secondary schools that do not provide education for students in Years 11 to 12 (for example, Year 7 to 10 schools).
While the provision expectation will not apply to these schools, they are encouraged to provide the VCE Vocational Major and VPC where it is suitable for their student cohort. The department will support these schools to prepare for delivery and expand their provision offering to include one or both pathways if required.
Transitioning to the new pathways
By 2023, schools need to be registered by the VRQA to provide the VCE and VPC, as well as authorised by the VCAA to deliver the VPC and VCE Vocational Major. VRQA registration for the VCE includes the VCE Vocational Major.
Schools already providing VCAL
Schools already registered by the VRQA and authorised by the VCAA to provide:
- Intermediate and/or Senior VCAL will be automatically registered for the VCE (if not already registered) and authorised to deliver the VCE Vocational Major from 2023
- Foundation VCAL will be automatically registered and authorised to provide the VPC from 2023.
Schools not currently providing VCAL
Schools that are:
- not currently providing VCAL but are registered and authorised to provide Foundation, Intermediate and/or Senior VCAL will have their registrations and authorisations automatically transferred to the corresponding pathways (as above) and will need to prepare for delivery from 2023
- not registered and authorised to provide Intermediate or Senior VCAL will need to be registered by the VRQA for the VCE (if not already registered) and authorised by the VCAA to provide the VCE Vocational Major
- not registered and authorised to provide Foundation VCAL will need to be registered and authorised to provide the VPC.
Schools that are not registered to provide Foundation, Intermediate and/or Senior VCAL, and are expected to provide the new certificate offerings from 2023, have been contacted directly by the department to commence the registration and authorisation process.
Applications will be required in 2022, to enable schools to deliver the new certificate offerings in 2023.
The department’s School Registration Unit is supporting government schools through the application process – refer to the Contacts section below.
Support for schools to transition to the new pathways
The department and the VCAA will support government schools to prepare for delivery of the VCE Vocational Major and VPC. All schools will be able to draw on:
- VCAA professional learning, with links to registration at VCE VM and VPC professional
- 3 days of teacher time release per VCE Vocational Major and VPC teacher in 2022, 1.5 days in each of 2023 and 2024, and 1 day in 2025 to participate in professional learning for the new certificates and prepare for delivery, with reimbursement available through the Schools Targeted Funding Portal (STFP)
- advice and guidance from region, area and central staff throughout 2022
- support for communicating with students and school communities, now available on the Resources tab.
Schools expanding their registration will also be able to draw on:
- 10 additional days teacher time release (per certificate application for schools expanding their registration, also through the STFP)
- an optional school leadership mentoring and coaching program delivered by the Victorian Applied Learning Association (at no cost to the school)
- one-to-one consultancy support to assist with completing applications, provided by the department’s School Registration Unit
- assistance from the department’s School Registration Unit with registration requirements.
A Collaboration and Curriculum Access Fund will also be available to support schools to provide the new pathways, including schools with small student enrolments in the new pathways. More information on how to participate in this fund will be provided later in 2022.
Contact the Provision team in the department’s Senior Secondary Pathways Reform Taskforce for more information on these supports – refer to the Contacts section below.
Student demand for the VCE Vocational Major or VPC
All students should be supported to choose, and be able to access, the pathway that best aligns with their strengths, interests and aspirations at their local government school.
Schools should promote the VCE Vocational Major to build awareness and demand for this pathway ahead of student subject selection. Schools are encouraged to make timetabling and staffing decisions following student subject selection. If, following subject selection, demand for the VCE Vocational Major or VPC exceeds your school’s capacity to deliver, please contact your area’s Jobs, Skills and Pathways Manager to discuss options to support student access.
There may be instances where, despite efforts to generate demand, secondary schools have very low student demand for the VCE Vocational Major in a particular year. Similarly, as the VPC will be provided on an as-needs basis, a school may not have student need for the VPC in a particular year.
While all Victorian government secondary schools will need to be registered and authorised to provide the VCE Vocational Major and VPC by 2023, schools will not be expected to provide the VCE Vocational Major if there isn’t student demand, and will not be expected to provide the VPC where there is no student need.
If this is relevant to your school’s circumstances, please contact your senior education improvement leader for further discussions about provision. The area and regional office will work with the Senior Secondary Pathways Reform Taskforce to provide support and advice to your school, with the goal of certificate provision in 2023.
In circumstances where demand for the VCE Vocational Major is so low that it would compromise program quality, the Secretary may approve a time limited exception from the provision expectation. If this is relevant to your school, the area and regional office will work through the following process with your school:
- identifying provision concerns and barriers to 2023 delivery early (Term 1)
- implementing supports throughout 2022 to overcome provision challenges ahead of 2023
- reviewing key school data and information, for example, current class sizes, exit data
- confirming level of student demand through the Term 3 subject selection process
- seeking endorsement from the regional director and approval from the Secretary.
There are no time-limited exceptions for provision of the VPC – if there is student need for the VPC at the school, it should be provided to those students.
Selective entry school
For the purposes of this policy, selective entry school means a Victorian government school where prospective students must sit an entrance exam in Year 8 and meet specific selection criteria to be admitted. There are four government selective entry schools in Victoria – the Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School, Melbourne High School, Nossal High School and Suzanne Cory High School.
For the purposes of this policy, specialism school means a Victorian government school that focusses on a specialist subject or activity and has specific enrolment criteria. There are 2 government specialism schools in Victoria – John Monash Science School and the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School.
For the purposes of this policy, specialist school means a Victorian government school that is established for the main purpose of providing instruction for students with disabilities or for students with social, emotional or behavioural needs.
Specific purpose school
For the purposes of this policy, specific purpose school means a Victorian government school that provides an alternative educational program.
For further information on the curriculum and certificate design for the VCE Vocational Major and VPC, contact the VCAA’s Senior Secondary Reform team: email@example.com
For advice and support with registration and authorisation for the VCE Vocational Major and/or the VPC contact the department’s School Registration Unit: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information on the certificate provision supports, contact the Provision team in the department’s Senior Secondary Pathways Reform Taskforce: email@example.com
For further information on the Senior Secondary Pathways Reform agenda, contact the department’s Senior Secondary Pathways Reform Taskforce: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is no further guidance for this topic. For more information, refer to the Resources tab.
Certificate explainer videos
Understand the essential details of the VCE Vocational Major and VPC with these 4 explainer videos.
- Watch Pathway options for 2023 on
- Watch VCE Vocational Major on
- Watch Victorian Certificate of Education on
- Watch Victorian Pathways Certificate on
Many Talents One VCE campaign
The Many Talents One campaign is helping to raise awareness of the new VCE Vocational Major and celebrate the many talents our students bring to their senior secondary schooling.
VAL pathways – the student experience
Promote and celebrate vocational and applied learning pathways with your students and community using these 2 student case study videos.
These videos feature students who are undertaking a VAL qualification while they are at school.
- Watch VAL pathways – Early Childhood Education and Care on
- Watch VAL pathways – Building and Construction on
VAL pathways – the teacher experience
Promote and inspire your staff to consider teaching VAL.
This video features one teacher’s rewarding experiences working in a VAL classroom.
Watch VAL pathways – Teacher experience on
VAL explainer and benefits presentation
This presentation deck provides an explanation of what vocational and applied learning is, how it can be incorporated into a secondary students' education, and why it's a great option for students to consider.
It contains a case study bank of students who have pursued VAL in their senior secondary education and who have gone on to a range of successful post-secondary transitions.
Vocational and applied learning explainer and benefits presentation (staff login required)
The Review into vocational and applied learning pathways in senior secondary schooling (the Firth Review) made 38 recommendations to lift the quality and perception of vocational education, help more students access high-quality applied learning programs, and provide students with a vocational pathway that gives them the skills they need to make successful post-school transitions. This included recommendations relating to the provision of vocational and applied learning pathways.
The Victorian Government’s response to the Firth Review accepted in principle all of the review’s recommendations.
Senior secondary schooling pathway reforms
Further information on the senior secondary schooling pathways reforms is available:
- on the department’s Senior secondary schooling pathways page
- on the VCAA’s Victorian senior secondary certificate page.
Reviewed 08 March 2022