Are you a student aged 16-19 who hasn't completed Year 11 or Year 12, or equivalent? We can help you achieve your immediate goal – whether that is finding work, gaining a trade, or starting a pathway into further education.

We offer a wide range of programs for early school leavers, run by our TAFE division, Victoria University Polytechnic.

Foundation & senior secondary qualifications

We offer two options for completing your foundation or senior secondary education outside the high-school system.

The Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Vocational Major (VM) is a two-year senior secondary school qualification. You can use this as a pathway into traineeships, apprenticeships or non-ATAR further study.

The Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC) is an accredited foundation secondary qualification. Once completed, you can pursue further study with the VCE Vocational Major (VM) or entry level TAFE/VET qualifications. You can also choose to enter the workforce.

If you’ve experienced disruption in your previous schooling, the VPC will help you build skills and knowledge for your future.


Prepare to enter a trade with a pre-apprenticeship course. These are available to students aged 16 years or older.

A pre-apprenticeship provides on-the-job experience and skill development so that you can gain an understanding of the work involved in a particular trade. You will receive skills training at Victoria University Polytechnic, and work experience with an employer in your trade.

Employers often prefer to take on apprentices that have undertaken a pre-apprenticeship. It’s a great way to gain a head start in your trade.

Pre-apprenticeship courses

"The teachers put in a lot of work to ensure students gain as much knowledge as possible and I believe that this is one of the main reasons I was able to win the Energy Safe Victoria Award."

Bryce Williamson left school at the end of Year 11 VCAL to pursue a plumbing apprenticeship, and further his studies at VU.

Work education

If you have special needs due to an intellectual disability, our work education program teaches you a range of skills to help you find employment or undertake further education.

You can study the Certificate I in Transition Education 22567VIC and Certificate I in Work Education 22566VIC to gain community awareness, independence and other skills to improve your employment prospects.

English as an Additional Language (EAL)

If English is not your first language, we can help you to improve your language skills in order to find work or continue your study.

We offer English as an Additional Language (EAL) courses to young people from countries where English is not the first language. These programs are designed to help you develop important English-language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Pathways into further education

We offer connections between courses that help you move from TAFE courses at Victoria University Polytechnic through to undergraduate courses (bachelor degrees) at VU. We call these connections between courses ‘pathways’.

Pathways can put your dream qualification within reach, regardless of your educational background. Many of our TAFE courses are also structured to offer you credit for future study. This means you might be able to finish your next course faster.

Minimum age to study

VU and Victoria University Polytechnic have set the minimum age to study at 16 for all courses. This means that you must be aged 16 years or older, or have completed a Year 10 course of study or equivalent, to enrol with us.

There may be exemptions to this requirement in some circumstances. Contact VU Polytechnic to discuss your particular situation if you are under 16 years of age.