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New Zealand Certificate in Cookery (Level 4) (In-work)

New Zealand Certificate in Cookery (Level 4) (In-work)

Level 4

Are you seeking a professional qualification in cookery while at work? UCOL’s New Zealand Certificate in Cookery (Level 4) In-work strand offers you the flexibility to learn while working and obtain a nationally recognised qualification.

New Zealand Certificate in Cookery (Level 4) (In-work)
Quick info

Level: 4

Locations: UCOL Manawatū in Palmerston North, UCOL Whanganui, UCOL Wairarapa in Masterton

Duration: 34 weeks

31 Jan 2022 - 04 Nov 2022
11 July 2022 - 14 Apr 2023
03 Oct  2022 - 07 July 2023

Domestic Fees: *
$1087.50Scholarship info

International Fees:*

Additional Fees
Compulsory course costs may apply.

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). The fee shown is for one year of study.

The industrial cookery profession is not for the faint-hearted, as you face many challenges daily. The high-pressure work environment and long work hours make it difficult for those who want to learn further. We understand this and have adapted the New Zealand Certificate in Cookery (Level 4) programme for intermediate cookery professionals eager to upskill themselves while still working.

This strand is offered in a blended delivery model, combining in person, online, and in-work learning. You will learn to produce a range of complex finished dishes and various aspects of professional cooking. While you become competent with cooking complex dishes, you will also learn more about the socio-cultural attributes required to progress and succeed in the industry.

COVID-19 Vaccinations:

This programme involves work experience, practicum placements or an internship. We therefore highly recommend you are vaccinated for COVID-19, as the Government’s mandates mean that many workplace providers will require you to be vaccinated before working with them. Work experience hours are an essential part of this programme. If you are not vaccinated, you will have very limited access to placement or work experience opportunities, which will affect your ability to complete this programme successfully.

You can see more informtaion on this on UCOL's Covid-19 page, and on the Ministry of Health's website.

 Career & Study Outcomes

Successful graduates of UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Cookery (Level 4) In-work strand will be able to:

  • Monitor and maintain health and safety, food safety, and security practices.
  • Monitor and maintain institutional workplace and customer relationships.
  • Apply standard operating policies and procedures to work roles in a commercial kitchen.
  • Prepare, cook, and present a range of cold larder dishes, hot kitchen dishes, , and desserts, employing complex preparation and presentation techniques.

Employment opportunities include working in:

  • Commercial kitchens
  • Commercial catering businesses
  • Cafe kitchens
  • Institutional catering

Graduates who wish to further specialise can enrol in:

 Course Information

This programme consists of 120 credits. The courses are as follows:

Workplace Culinary Essentials 1 (30 Credits)
The course aim is to enable students to prepare basic fundamental cookery items. The course content consists of:

  • Health and safety
  • Food safety and hygiene
  • First Aid
  • Kitchen equipment
  • Kitchen terminology
  • Marinades and dressings
  • Sandwiches
  • Salads and cold sauces
  • Bakery pastry; basic paste and aeration
  • Basic food nutrition
Workplace Culinary Essentials 2 (30 Credits)
The course aims to enable students to cook and serve items for service to customers. The course content consists of:

  • Egg dishes
  • Basic soups
  • Basic pasta preparation, cooking, and finishing methods
  • Mother sauces
  • Bakery pastry; cakes, biscuits, and slices
  • Health and safety
  • Food safety and hygiene
Workplace Culinary Essentials 3 (30 Credits)
The course aims to enable students to prepare, cook, and finish a variety of food items. The course content consists of:

  • Poultry preparation, cooking, and finishing methods
  • Fish and shellfish preparation, cooking, and finishing methods
  • Vegetable and potato preparation, cooking, and finishing methods
  • Stocks and soups
  • Complex sauces (hot and cold)
  • Bakery pastry; yeast raised goods
  • Larder pate, cocktails foods (hot and cold)
  • Health and safety
  • Food safety and hygiene
Workplace Culinary Essentials 4 (30 Credits)
The course aims to enable students to prepare, cook, and present items in commercial kitchens. The course content consists of:

  • Employment skills
  • Basic butchery knowledge and skills
  • Meat preparation, cooking, and finishing methods
  • Bakery pastry; hot and cold desserts
  • Dinner service
  • Health and safety
  • Food safety

 Domestic Entry Requirements

The applicant must be in paid employment (cook/chef position) for a minimum of 20 hours per week for the duration of the programme in a UCOL approved establishment.

And, they should have:

NCEA Level 2


Equivalent academic achievement


On a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Executive Dean


For more information about NCEA Credits see UCOL's NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, the following applies to international student applicants.

English language proficiency

International student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS (or equivalent including TOEFL) score of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5.0. UCOL is a TOEFL iBT testing centre. The English Proficiency test is accepted for English language entry into all UCOL programmes. 

Under 20 years of age

For international applicants under 20 years of age who do not hold NCEA, International Academic Qualifications Entry Criteria apply.

 Advice & Guidance

You will be required to work a minimum of 20 hours per week in an UCOL approved establishment throughout the duration of the programme. 

Full attendance is encouraged to maximise learning opportunities and to optimise success for students.

It is recommended that applicants have met the literacy and numeracy requirements for NCEA Level 1 or equivalent.

Students need to be aware of the physical requirements for operating in a commercial kitchen environment. Students will be advised to put any special needs or requirements in writing and advise the Head of School before the programme begins.

Recognition of prior learning
Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning, including Cross Credit, Credit Transfer and Assessment of Prior Learning may be made on the Recognition of Prior Learning Form where a student believes all learning outcomes for a course have already been met. Applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the UCOL Academic Statute and other relavant policies and procedures.

Application checklist
It will make the process easier if you prepare the following before you apply:

  • National Student Number (NSN) (If you don't have a NSN, you may request one from NZQA, or you can supply a verified copy of your birth certificate, passport or Whakapapa statement.)
  • Evidence of your highest level of academic achievement (and evidence of prior learning, if applicable)
  • Evidence that you meet the entry requirements of the programme
  • Check if you're eligible for additional support or a scholarship. If you're 19 years or younger, you may be eligible to enrol in one of our free Youth Transition programmes.

Note that you will need to provide any verified documents in person, via post or email (not via the online application form).

 Additional Costs

Depending whether you have equipment and uniform, there are additional costs associated with the New Zealand Certificate in Cookery (Level 4) (In-Work) of approximately $770 for the following:
  • NZ Chef 4th Edition Text Book (optional)
  • UCOL uniform
  • Knives
  • Shoes


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education Act 1989, and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) Trading as Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is accredited to teach it.