For Students & Parents

Vocational education and training (VET) for secondary school students

Many employers expect school leavers to have some practical experience, enabling them to quickly become productive in the work environment. VET programs help students to cross the bridge between general education and the world of work.

Undertaken as part of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) studies, VET programs enable students to develop the skills and attitudes that employers look for in workers. Including VET programs in the curriculum expands opportunities and pathways for senior secondary school students, and helps them to:

  • navigate the world of work
  • interact with others
  • plan and organise
  • identify and solve problems
  • create and innovate, and
  • work in a digital world.

VET programs for secondary school students are typically at the Certificate II and Certificate III levels. Students may also combine study for their VCE or VCAL with employment as an apprentice or trainee, by participating in the School-based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBATs) scheme.

See: More information on SBATs

VET programs are delivered directly by the school, if the school is also a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Alternatively, VET programs are provided through partnership arrangements between the school and an RTO. TAFE Institutes are public RTOs, and there are commercial, private RTOs in the marketplace.

Structured Workplace Learning (SWL)

SWL is on-the-job training during which a student is expected to master a set of skills or competencies related to their VET program. Many VET programs include opportunities for students to participate in SWL. Host employers supervise and instruct the students as they practise and extend the industry skills they have learned in their VET programs. Students interested in an SWL placement should seek guidance from their schools. Prior to the commencement of SWL the employer, student and parent must sign the SWL Arrangement Form.

See: SWL Arrangement Form

The appropriate occupational or workplace health and safety unit of competency in each VET program must be completed at school before the student goes on a work placement.

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) VCE VET program publications contain information relating to SWL. The SWL requirements are expressed in hours and weeks and are expected to be carried out over the two-year minimum of VCE VET programs.

See: Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) VCE VET program publications

The Department of Education and Training has also published a Structured Workplace Learning Manual for Victorian secondary schools

See: More information and SWL Manual