Level 2, Level 3 Diploma


Course Level

Level 2, Level 3


1 year full-time per level


Included in course


September 2021


View Fees

College of Food and Hospitality Management
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Global reputation within the industry for food-related courses

Train in industry-standard kitchens to support your future career opportunities

This course is open for 2021 entry only. Applications will open August 2020. 

Do you dream of becoming a professional chef? Well-trained chefs are in strong demand, with big promotion prospects for those who demonstrate commitment and flair for the job. From working in fine dining restaurants to event catering, our Professional Cookery college course will give you the practical skills and knowledge for a range of careers in the catering and foodservice industries.

University College Birmingham is internationally renowned for our chef training and catering courses, with an experienced team of expert chef lecturers and excellent professional kitchen facilities for you to hone your culinary skills. Our Level 2 course introduces you to key food preparation and cookery skills, while the Level 3 course builds on your culinary foundations to take your cooking to a higher level with more complex techniques and dishes, preparing you either to start your career or move onto a university degree.

Our chef college courses focus on developing your hands-on practical skills, and you’ll have the opportunity to put them to the test both on campus and out in the industry. As well as training in our industry-standard kitchens and restaurants, you’ll gain additional real-world experience on placements, working anywhere from hotels and restaurants to cafes and food manufacturers.

Why choose this college course?

  • PRACTICAL APPLICATION – Our course is all about learning by doing, getting you straight into the kitchen to develop your bakery skills
  • WORK PLACEMENT – Give your CV a huge boost by gaining real-life work experience in the food industry during your course
  • EXCELLENT FACILITIESOur industry-standard kitchen and restaurant facilities on campus will help boost your confidence working in the food and hospitality environment
  • MOVE UP TO UNIVERSITY – Want to continue your learning journey after college? Progress your culinary training to degree level on our wide range of university food courses

Our facilities

University College Birmingham is renowned for its outstanding food industry training facilities. To help you achieve your chef qualifications, you will have access to our professional standard kitchens and our award-winning training restaurants.

Course breakdown

Topics you will study

  • Basic fish, meat, poultry and vegetable dishes
  • Bread and dough products, soups and basic hot sauces
  • Food safety
  • Patisserie and fermented products
  • Desserts, petits fours and decorative products

You will also have an individual study programme to help you build the skills and experience you need to progress onto higher education or gain employment.

Maths and English

To help you secure your dream career, you will also continue developing your maths and English skills alongside your full-time course. If you haven’t achieved GCSE grade 4/C in English and maths at age 16, you will continue to study these through resits or taking Functional Skills at an appropriate level.

How maths will support your career

  • Making measurements in following recipes and in serving food and drink properly
  • Using fractions for recipes and serving sizes
  • Making adjustments for time and temperature in food and drink preparation
  • Handling nutritional data to inform choices about health and balanced diet while creating menus
  • Enhancing presentation of dishes using geometry

How English will support your career

  • Using accurate spelling and specialist vocabulary for presenting quality menus
  • Developing good speaking and listening skills for communicating with colleagues and customers
  • Improving your reading accuracy when following instructions and recipes
  • Enhancing your CV or advertising your business with the correct use of English

Entry requirements

Level 2 Professional Cookery

  • Ideally, you will require a minimum of 4 GCSEs at grade 3/D or above, or equivalent. However, 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 us if you have not achieved these grades.
  • School applicants will be required to provide a good school report, which must include attendance.
  • If you do not have a grade 4/C or above in maths and English and you are under 19, you will be required to complete an assessment so we can ensure you receive appropriate support. Applicants over 19 are not required to complete maths and English.

(Please note: Professional Cookery Level 1 is available if students require additional support.)

Level 3 Professional Cookery

  • To apply for Level 3, you will need a relevant Level 2 qualification and, ideally, English and/or maths at grade 4/C or above.
  • Alternatively, you will need at least 2 years’ relevant work experience.
  • If you do not have a grade 4/C or above in maths and English and you are under 19, you will be required to complete an assessment so we can ensure you receive appropriate support. Applicants over 19 are not required to complete maths and English.

Key information

Teaching and assessment

There are regular practical tests to make sure you are on course. Theory is mainly assessed through assignments and short answer questions and recorded in your electronic portfolio.

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

Uniform and kit costs

This course requires a uniform and kit costing approximately £250, 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.

Students on our college cookery courses have opportunities for placements in hotels, restaurants, conference centres, cafes, food manufacturers, patisserie outlets and even hospitals. Placements can last from 70 – 350 hours dependant on the level of study, with many of our past students subsequently being offered part-time jobs.

Work alongside experts in your sector

A snapshot of some of the employers we have worked with:

  • The Belfry (Sutton Coldfield)
  • Simpsons Restaurant (Birmingham)
  • Malmaison (Birmingham)
  • Anderson's Bar and Grill (Birmingham)
  • Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel and Country Club (Warwickshire)

I had the most rewarding three years of my life here. I travelled to Lyon to watch the Bocuse d'Or, the world’s most prestigious chef competition, represented the college during a royal visit from the Countess of Wessex and cooked for some amazing chefs, including Brian Turner and Benoit Blin.

Ryan Sharpe Level 3 Professional Cookery

Career opportunities

The example 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: £33,500

Pastry chef

Average Salary: £21,682

Food business owner/restaurateur


Product development chef

Average Salary: £32,500

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. 


Find out more

Nathan’s Story

Nathan, winner of the British Culinary Federation’s Young Chef of the Year 2019, has worked at some of the world’s best restaurants.

Read Story

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