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The Level 3 Diploma in Advanced 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. The level 3 Diploma is a demanding qualification taking approximately 900 hours to complete. It is aimed at those students who want to work in fine dining cuisine. Given the specialism involved, only a small number of colleges offer the qualification It is also available at levels 1 and 2. Typically, students completing the level 3 Diploma directly enter the sector as a commis chef in fine dining. However, they are thought to be able to progress more quickly as typically students have undertaken the programme whilst gaining experience in the sector.
The type of qualifications someone completing a level 3 Diploma would typically progress onto would be a management qualification or a Foundation Degree in Culinary Arts. These types of qualifications can be undertaken flexibly whilst working full-time.