Posted: 10-Oct-2018

To engage and support 21st-century young people on their journey towards independent adulthood we need to strike a balance between engaging learning, wellbeing and spiritual connectedness.

The VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning) gives students practical work-related experience, as well as literacy and numeracy skills and the opportunity to build personal skills that are important for life and work. Like the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), the VCAL is a recognised senior secondary qualification.

The VCAL certificates use the following guidelines to engage students by:
• relating theory and practice
• linking educational contexts and learning with ‘real life’ and the community
• building on student’s knowledge and interests
• negotiating content and learning
• providing for different learning styles.

Connecting students to the real world and their community through an integrated Personal Development Skills (PDS) and Work Related Skills (WRS) program is an exciting way to not only engage students but deepen their learning. As part of the College goal in supporting 21st-century learning, the VCAL students will be running a small Café enterprise. The Damascus College VCAL team are in the process of purchasing a coffee trailer, which will be part of the DMAC Café. The DMAC Café is part of an integrated set of projects (Personal Development, Work Related Skills, Religious Education, Literacy and Numeracy) which involves the setup and running of an onsite Cafe at Damascus College. The model of Café as part of the VCAL course has been modelled successfully in almost all Secondary Colleges in Victora. Damascus College VCAL DMAC Café project focuses on the formation of a variety of skill sets and provides our young people with opportunities to increase their self-esteem, life and employability skill.

The program will run throughout the VCAL days and requires students to run a small business selling coffee and other hot drinks to staff and students at the College.

Students are currently enrolled in a barista course that will take place in Term 4 where they will learn how to use a barista style coffee machine and make a variety of coffees and hot drinks.

As part of the project, students will meet a number of VCAL outcomes through real-world modelling i.e. developing cooking skills (as part of the healthy living unit), customer service, coding (building an app) and financial literacy (loan payments, fundraising, purchasing and requisitions.

If you would like more information or have any queries relating to the DMAC Café Program, please do not hesitate to email Tom Inverarity via or myself, Ashwin Pillai at

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