Young people who leave school prior to completing Year 12 experience higher levels of unemployment and face barriers entering tertiary education.
The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) at Swinburne University of Technology delivers real life, applied learning opportunities for students who want to complete Year 11 and Year 12. Graduates often progress into apprenticeships, vocational certificates, or obtain employment.
For senior VCAL student, Shanice, completing secondary schooling was a priority and the change in environment that VCAL offered was something she benefited from.
“I was always different, and if you’re one of those different people you always struggle and get by with only a few friends. I was getting bullied, mostly because of my indigenous background, and didn’t attend school much. It really bothered me because you shouldn’t be ashamed of your heritage - you should be proud,” Shanice said.
After completing a Year 10 alternative program, Shanice progressed to intermediate VCAL in 2014, and is completing senior VCAL this year.
At a senior level, Shanice is challenged by a higher academic level and workload.
“It’s more demanding now but the good thing is I can turn to a teacher and get the help I need to understand my task right away. I would get frustrated at school when I had to raise my hand and wait a long time to get any help. Here the teachers treat us with respect - we give them respect, and they give it back. You feel you’re being treated like an adult and not a teenager.”
Shanice is almost at the end of her VCAL journey and the next stage of her life holds many possibilities.
“I don’t know exactly what I want to do just yet. I love animals but I’m not sure if I want a career in that. I’m definitely passionate about music and I even think of running my own café one day.”
What is clear is that Shanice wants to take her education as far as she can go.
“I know that it’s better to have more qualifications under your belt. You have more of chance to get to where you want - to work where you want, and get paid what you deserve.”
Applications are now open for mid-year VCAL (July intake) at Swinburne’s Croydon and Wantirna campus. Click here to register for the next information session.
For further information:
VCAL Team Leader (acting)