Level 3 T-level in Catering: Professional Cookery

This course is subject to approval

Course Level

Level 3


2 years full-time


45 days (approx)


September (2023)


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Get an industry-recognised qualification equivalent to three A-levels

Clear route to progress into a skilled career or university study

Have you got ambitions to be a professional chef? Do you want a course that will arm you not only with the essential practical skills but also a wealth of real-life experience in kitchens and restaurants? Our T-level Catering: Professional Cookery Level 3 course will give you the ideal blend of learning and working to prepare you for a great career in the hospitality industry.

University College Birmingham is one of the first colleges in the UK to offer the new T-level qualification, which combines learning in the classroom with gaining vital ‘on-the-job’ experience. On our two-year catering course, you will develop classical and contemporary cookery skills and core competencies in a range of cuisines, learning from highly-experienced lecturers in our state-of-the-art training facilities at our renowned Birmingham College of Food. You will also learn theory relevant to the food and hospitality industry, as well as enhancing your occupational awareness and employability skills.

Equivalent to three A-levels, this course will help you boost your employment prospects by gaining extensive experience on an industry placement in a real-world environment, supported by experts in our hired@UCB employability team. By completing this nationally-recognised qualification, you could move onto a wide variety of hospitality and catering careers, from restaurant chef roles to product development and catering management.

Find out more about this course and the college by ordering a physical copy of our college prospectus by clicking here.

Why choose this college course?

  • BOOST YOUR SKILLS – Build key skills and knowledge related to professional cookery, as well as enhancing your English, maths and digital skills
  • WORK PLACEMENT – Get to know the world of work and gain essential industry experience through a work placement
  • PRACTICAL APPLICATION – Hone your practical skills in our industry-standard kitchens and training restaurant on campus
  • RECOGNISED QUALIFICATION – Our T-level cookery course has been designed in collaboration with industry to ensure your skills meet employers’ needs and expectations
There are lots of reasons why we think you should study with us, but here are our top 5. View video.

Our facilities

University College Birmingham is renowned for its outstanding food industry training facilities. To help you achieve your professional cookery T-level qualification, you will have access to our professional standard kitchens and our award-winning restaurant on campus.

Course breakdown

Topics you will study:

Year 1

Core Component

  • Professional culinary skills
  • Kitchen operations
  • Health, safety and security
  • Nutritional analysis
  • Food safety
  • Team working
  • Business

Year 2

Occupational Specialism (Catering: Professional Cookery)

  • Produce quality dishes using fresh ingredients for service individually and as a team member
  • Lead the production of quality dishes using prepared ingredients for service
  • Adapt quality dishes for specific customer requirements
  • Produce quality dishes for a central production unit consumed in different types of locations
  • Create quality dishes to meet a menu concept

Entry requirements

Our chef lecturers are looking for students who are enthusiastic and passionate about cooking, together with a keen determination to succeed in the hospitality industry, so please contact Admissions if you do not have the specific requirements outlined below.

If you are unsure if your qualification is equivalent or if you wish to check if you meet the entry requirements for this course, please call 0121 214 2919, email or use our live chat.

Academic requirements

4 GCSEs at grade 4 (grade C) including English Language and Maths, or equivalent.

English and maths

As applicants are required to achieve English and Maths at grade 4 (grade C) prior to entering this course, University College Birmingham will not offer English or Maths alongside this T-level.

Supporting documents required

School applicants will be required to provide a good school report, which must include attendance. This will be assessed in conjunction with your qualifications and application during the confirmation of your place at University College Birmingham.

Applicant criteria

As this is a 2-year study programme, you will need to be aged 16 to 18 to apply for this course.

Currently, T-level courses are only funded for learners who are under the age of 19 at the point of enrolment. However, the government is currently reviewing a T-level pathway for mature learners, which we hope will be available in the future. If you would like to apply for a related course, please consider our Professional Cookery Level 3 Diploma course.


T-level courses require you to complete a minimum of 315 hours (approximately 45 days) on placement over the two years. You will be required to work with our hired@UCB team to secure your placement.

Guaranteed progression

Students who achieve 56 UCAS points or more from this qualification will automatically be guaranteed a place on a degree course at University College Birmingham. Some undergraduate courses require additional entry requirements, so applicants are advised to check entry requirements before applying.

Key information

Teaching and assessment

This two-year course offers a mix of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience, all externally assessed through a range of innovative and challenging methods. It will provide the knowledge and experience you need to open the door into skilled employment, further study or a higher apprenticeship. 

T-levels also include an invaluable industry placement of at least 45 days – more than existing technical courses – to give students the best start to their career.

Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2021-2024.

Additional qualifications and training

As part of your time studying this T-level, you will also undertake an introductory food service qualification (subject to approval), enhancing your employability and developing your core knowledge within this field.

Uniform and kit costs

This course requires a uniform and kit costing approximately £270, depending on the items you purchase. (Prices are subject to change each year – exact costs and information on how to order required items will be provided to you 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.


of graduate employers say relevant experience is essential to getting a job with them

Work placements

Work placements offer a wealth of benefits alongside your studies, helping you put your learning into practice, develop your skills and understanding of the workplace, boost your CV for your chosen career or enhance your UCAS application for higher education. Our hired@UCB team can help find the ideal placement for you.

As part of our T-level catering course, you will be required to undertake approximately 45 days of industry experience within this specialist field. This could be in restaurants, hotels, contract caterers or similar style operations, and will provide you with real-world experience and insight into a working chef’s life, while also boosting your CV and developing you personally and professionally.

This exciting, challenging and aspirational new qualification offers students an ideal first step into a career in hospitality and catering, and into the exhilarating world of professional cookery. Our expert chef lecturers and world-class facilities will give our learners an amazing opportunity to develop their skills, enhance their experiences and broaden their opportunities.

Kali Davidson Head of Birmingham College of Food

Career opportunities

Note: Some roles below may require further study/training. The roles and salaries below are intended as a guide only.

Sous chef

Average Salary: £25,000

Head chef

Average Salary: £40,000

Catering manager

Average salary: £22,000 - £45,000

Pastry chef

Average Salary: £21,682

Food business owner/restaurateur


Product development chef

Average Salary: £25,000 – £40,000

Aspiring to a higher level career? Complete this course and you could progress onto our Culinary Arts Management degree.


We are here to support your career goals every step of the way. 


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Discover more about T-levels

Designed in direct collaboration with employers and businesses, T-levels are a great new route into skilled employment, further study or higher apprenticeships.

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