Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Apprenticeships (RACA) Level 2 and Level 3

Overview (NV)

Chefs Apprenticeship Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA)

1st Year
Full time at UCB
2nd and 3rd Year
Apprenticeship placement


UCB was the first institution outside London and the South to offer the three-year Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA) Chefs Apprenticeship, which commences at the start of September every year. Students have benefited from the vast knowledge and skills of chefs in Birmingham and the surrounding areas to further their career and put them on the pathway to culinary success.

This course represents a unique opportunity for young chefs aged 16 to 19 to receive the highest level of culinary training while working alongside top professionals in the hospitality sector. The first year is spent learning vital skills here at UCB on a full time course followed by 18 months out in industry completing your apprenticeship

On successful completion of all the course modules and the final RACA exam apprentices will be awarded the coveted Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Diploma and become a Graduate of the RACA.

During the apprenticeship, the young chefs will attend UCB each week for a day of formal training, practical work, culinary theory and assessments. The curriculum is cutting-edge and combines culinary traditions with modern developments and an internationally-informed body of knowledge.

The apprentices will also benefit from an unrivalled enrichment programme including demonstrations and lectures by leading local chefs, “stages” at top restaurants, competition opportunities and field trips to food producers. 

Why should I choose this course?

This highly coveted qualification will enable you to:

  • Gain valuable experience working at high-end establishments including Simpsons, The Cross at Kenilworth, Hampton Manor, Opus, Buckland Manor, The Belfry and Carters of Moseley. Complete NVQ Level 2 Professional Cookery and Chef de Partie Standards 
  • Receive the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Diploma and become a Graduate of the RACA.
  • On completion students can apply for the BA (Hons)/FdA Culinary Arts available at UCB

Uniform and kit costs

This course incurs additional costs for uniform and kit. The approximate cost is £250. Please be aware that prices are subject to change each year. Exact costs, as well as information on how to order the required items, will be provided prior to enrolment.  

You may be eligible for The Learner Support fund, which assists college students with course-related costs such as essential uniform equipment and travel. For more information, please visit our Financial Support for College Students page.

Teaching and Assessment (NV)

Teaching and assessment

After completing an initial three-month training period at UCB, apprentices are employed in selected fine dining restaurants to complete the rest of the apprenticeship. The course is run over three years consisting of Level 2 and Level 3 standards.

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, and are happy to see you more often if you need extra help. They will assist you throughout your training to help you achieve your RACA qualification and apprenticeship standards.

You may want or need to attend college to gain additional skills but this will be negotiated between you and your employer.

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

End Point Assessment 

All apprenticeship standards require successful completion of End Point Assessments graded by an approved external apprenticeship organisation. 

Successful completion of the RACA apprenticeship involves assessments in the form of a multi-choice questionnaire, practical observation in work, a culinary challenge and a professional discussion.

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.

Level 2

You will be required to attend a college interview.

  • Ideally, you will require a minimum of 4 GCSEs at grade 4 (grade C) or above, or equivalent, including English Language at grade 4 (grade C) and maths at grade 4 (grade C) or Functional Skills Level 2.

Level 3

  • Students will need to have successfully completed the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Apprenticeships (RACA) Level 2 at UCB to continue onto Level 3.
What's next? (NV)

What's next?

The next intake for RACA Apprenticeship Chef will be September of each academic year. However, you can apply at any time of year. Simply click the apply button in the 'Overview' section to fill out the application form.

Please provide your email address, postal address, telephone number and the name of the school or college you are currently attending.

On receipt of your application we will write to you and invite you to attend an interview. Please bring with you your most recent school/college report and attendance report.