Chef Apprenticeships

Overview (NV)

Chef – Professional Cookery Level 2 and Level 3

Course length
12 - 18 months per level


A career in catering and hospitality can be exceptionally rewarding and becoming an apprentice chef could be the ideal path if you want to work while achieving a recognised qualification.

You might be working in catering and want to improve your skills and knowledge. Or you might have a passion for food and like the idea of working in a busy kitchen as part of a team. If that’s the case, UCB can help you find a suitable business for a paid apprenticeship job.  

NVQ Level 2 Diploma in Professional Cookery

The Level 2 Diploma covers food safety, healthier food and special diets and will develop your practical skills in a range of techniques including preparing and cooking stocks; soups; sauces; vegetables; meat, poultry and fish; hot and cold desserts; pastry and dough products; and cakes, biscuits and sponges. The techniques will depend on the business where you work.

During your Level 2 Diploma, you will gain:

  • NVQ Level 2 Diploma in Professional Cookery
  • Level 2 Certificate in Hospitality and Catering Principles
  • Level 1 Functional Skills in English and maths

NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery

The Level 3 Diploma builds on your existing knowledge and skills and covers advanced techniques such as producing vegetarian dishes; meat dishes and poultry; game; fish and shellfish; patisserie and fermented products; and desserts and petit fours. You will also learn more about sourcing produce and product development. The content will depend on the business where you work.

During your Level 3 Diploma, you will gain:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery
  • Level 3 Award in Hospitality and Leadership Principles
  • Level 2 Functional Skills in English and maths
Teaching and Assessment (NV)

Teaching & assessment 

Throughout your training your tutor will guide you through assessments both in the workplace and at College. You will have practical assessments, online tests and assignments.

Your personal assessor will visit you regularly in the workplace (or are happy to see you more often if you need extra help). They will assist you throughout your training to help you achieve your qualification.

Apprentices may need to attend college should they or their employer wish for them to gain additional skills but this will be discussed with you and your employer. 

Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2015-2020.

Entry Requirements (NV)

Entry requirements

You will need to be 16 and over and in full-time employment. You will already be working in a suitable role, or we can help you find one. If you are new to the industry or have limited experience you will need to start at Level 2.

For Level 2 you will normally require a minimum of 4 GCSEs at grade 3 (grade D) or above. For direct entry to Level 3, you will need a relevant Level 2 qualification and ideally English and maths at grade 4 (grade C) or above. However, all applicants will be considered on an individual basis.

You will also be required to attend a college interview.

If you have experience of working in the industry we would be delighted to hear from you.

If you do not have a grade 4 (grade C) or above in English and maths you will need to undertake an assessment so we can ensure you receive the best support for that subject.  

What's next? (NV)

What's next?

If you want to become a chef apprentice and do not have a job, UCB will work with you to find a suitable paid placement. If you are in work and want to take an apprenticeship qualification, we can advise you on what you need to do.

For more information please contact the Apprenticeship team:

By telephone: 0121 232 4091 (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm)

By email:

Profiles (NV)

Apprentice profiles

Find out more about what it's like to be an apprentice.

Danny May

Danny May

Chef Apprentice

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Meg smith

Megan Smith

Chef Apprentice

Read more