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Preparing for VCE VM

Monday 27th May 2024

Students preparing to begin their final years of school are faced with a variety of options that will determine how those years play out. One of the most prominent pathways is the VCE Vocational Major: a practical and experiential curriculum that combines important theoretical knowledge with development of hands-on skills. This comprehensive guide will help you understand the VM and why it may be the right option for you or your child.

What is VCE VM?

The Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Vocational Major (VM) is a two-year applied learning course that helps students develop an important combination of knowledge and skills to confidently approach further training or employment. The VCE Vocational Major curriculum was designed for students who prefer learning in practical environments and putting their skills into action. VM replaced the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) at the beginning of 2023, placing even greater emphasis on providing relevant opportunities and vocational education.

Who should do the VCE VM?

The Vocational Major is designed for students looking to transition into apprenticeships, traineeships or the workforce directly after school. Students doing the VM are often more practical learners who thrive in situations where they can put their skills into practice. By offering work placements and a greater emphasis on VET and employment skills, the VM is a targeted pathway program to give these students the greatest opportunity to succeed in school and beyond.

Structure of Vocational Major

The VCE VM Study Design includes a standard set of subjects that students will undertake, with some variation available. These subjects provide a broad spread of skills and competencies designed to help students as they enter the workforce


The VCE Vocational Major subjects all students will complete are:



Students may opt to complete VCE English or VCE Mathematics instead of Literacy and Numeracy, and are required to complete an additional VCE 3&4 subject. Each student will also complete a VET subject of their choice at a Certificate II level or above, as well as a weekly structured work placement. These additional units are designed to match the individual interests of learners, combining practical, on-the-job experience with important knowledge that can be used in a variety of careers.


The major difference in assessment between the VCE and the Vocational Major is in final results. Students in the VCE receive an ATAR as well as various final study scores, which VM students do not receive. Vocational Major students are assessed based on specific learning outcomes for each unit they undertake, ultimately leading to a VCE certificate with the appellation of Vocational Major attached. For any VET studies they undertake, students also receive a Statement of Attainment from the RTO providing the training.

The majority of assessments in the Vocational Major study design are school-assessed coursework tasks (SACs), which include forms like oral presentations, practical experiments, essays or standard tests. Unlike VCE, students do not complete any external exams other than the first section of the General Achievement Test (GAT) — a test of general knowledge and skills in a variety of areas.


The VM asks a lot of students in terms of managing their time and keeping up with different responsibilities, though a positive attitude and good habits can help the experience be beneficial. Some helpful tips to get the most out of your VM are to:

Other options

The Vocational Major provides beneficial insights and practical advice around employability and transferable workplace skills, but there are a number of other options that students can choose from, depending on their educational goals and career aspirations.


The standard Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) is typically undertaken across the final two years of high school, with students allowed to select from a variety of different subjects based on their personal interests and future aspirations. Obtaining a VCE helps students gain entry into tertiary education institutions, like university and TAFE.

School-Based Apprenticeship

School based apprenticeships provide students with a pathway to transition from school to the workplace. An SBA allows a student to commence their apprenticeship while still completing their senior studies. This flexible option works well for students on the VCE VM Pathway.

Prepared for what comes next

Understanding the Vocational Major can help students make the right choice about their end of school studies. For students entering their final years in the near future, take some time to think about what you want out of your pathway and where you would like to go after school.. Find more resources on our website or from your teachers, and enter your final years with confidence in yourself.