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The level 2 Diploma in Professional Cookery has been designed to be taught full-time in college (normally in one academic year). It is made up of 14 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 with which to enter the workforce. It is also available at levels 1 and 3. Typically, students completing the level 2 Diploma directly enter the sector as a commis chef in fine dining establishments or as a cook in more mainstream establishments. Alternatively, they can stay on in college and progress to a level 3 Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery.