The VCAL year that was

2018 marked a new VCAL program at PHSC...

with the beginning of a partnership with the North Carlton Neighbourhood Railway House. Our students worked there every day except Wednesdays in periods three and four. We established community connections by washing cars for local residents as well as offering a Helping Hands service in which students helped out elderly residents with their cleaning or gardening. We also started a composting system for the house and have managed to divert staffroom and canteen foodscraps from landfill. Students also planted and maintained a citrus and herb garden which is still thriving.


We were also very fortunate to work with Di Mattina Coffee who trained our students in barista skills and have loaned us a coffee machine and cart which the students operate at the Railway House every day.


This has been very popular with the Railway House community and staff as well as the teachers who visit from school. Students who run the machine keep the profits and they have begun a very successful small business which we hope to build even more in the future.


VCAL students must complete a VET or apprenticeship course in order to be eligible for the Intermediate or Senior certificate.  In 2018 the areas that students completed certificates in were engineering, plumbing, horticulture, community services, childcare, music production, automotive and building and construction. In these courses students learnt practical skills which create a pathway towards employment.

Projects are also a big part of the VCAL program and this year our students completed a significant number of collaborative projects which raised funds for charities, helped out the school or created an enterprise opportunity. Some of the highlights included a film night, toastie and pyjama day, a school op shop and a VCAL band (a first but hopefully not last for PHSC).


Overall 2018 was a very busy and productive year in VCAL and there is lots more to come in 2019. Keep your eye out for interviews with this year’s VCAL students in future newsletters to hear what they’ve already accomplished and what they’re hoping to achieve before the year is out.