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The Level 1 Diploma in Introduction to Professional Cookery has been designed to be taught full-time in college (normally in one academic year). It is made up of 12 units, all of which have to be covered (see below) thereby ensuring consistency, regardless of where it is taught. Its content combines both theory and practical elements and has been developed by a partnership of employers and colleges. It has the backing of the Craft Guild of Chefs and other chef bodies.
It is assessed through course work, theory and practical tests. On completion students receive a grade (distinction, credit, pass or fail). The Professional Cookery Diplomas are supported by People 1st and the National Skills Academy for Hospitality as the key chef qualifications to enter the workforce. It is also available at levels 2 and 3. Typically, students completing the level 1 Diploma stay in college and progress to a level 2 Diploma. If directly entering the sector, they would normally enter at a lower level such as a commis chef or become an apprentice.