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New Zealand Certificate in Cookery

Level 4

Develop your creativity in the kitchen and get hands-on work experience in our training restaurants and at events and functions with UCOL’s New Zealand Certificate in Cookery.

  • A photograph of a chef putting some dishes under the serving bench lightsA photograph of a chef putting some dishes under the serving bench lights
  • A photograph of a trainee chef preparing a dish in a commercial kitchenA photograph of a trainee chef preparing a dish in a commercial kitchen
  • A photograph of a pepper crusted venison dishA photograph of a pepper crusted venison dish
Quick info

Level: 4

Locations: Palmerston North, Wairarapa, Whanganui, *Levin

Duration: 1 year, full-time

All locations
26 Feb 2018 - 30 Nov 2018

Palmerston North
26 Feb 2018 - 30 Nov 2018
13 Aug 2018 - 24 May 2019

Domestic Fees:*
$7,129.50Scholarship info

Find out if you're eligible for fees-free study

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.

Go from novice to intermediate-level trainee, covering cold larder dishes, complex preparation and presentation techniques, hot dishes and a range of patisserie and desserts. Combine practical cooking skills with knowledge on how a professional kitchen is run, including UCOL's training restaurants - Ambitions and Visions.

*Note to Levin students, you can study this course at HLC Levin.

New Zealand Certificate in Cookery students in Palmerston North have the opportunity to create the meals served at Ambitions Training Restaurant. Here's our delicious crispy fish 'n chips in 20 seconds:


On completion of this programme you will be eligible to sit in the examination for the International City & Guilds Diploma in Food Preparation and Cooking (Level 2). 

 Career & Study Outcomes

Successful graduates of UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Cookery will be able to:

  • Monitor and maintain health and safety, food safety and security practices
  • Manage 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 a range of patisserie and desserts employing complex preparation and presentation techniques.

Employment opportunities include working in:

  • Commercial kitchens
  • Commercial catering businesses
  • Cafe kitchens
  • Institutional catering
To find out more about possible job prospects and salaries, see Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Occupation Outlook for Chefs.

Education pathway

Graduates who wish to further specialise can enrol in:

 Course Information

  • Cookery Fundamentals
  • Applied Complex Cookery Skills
  • Restaurant Cookery and Professional Practice
  • Industry Cookery Skills 

 Student & Staff Profiles

 Industry Connections

UCOL Hospitality Schools are members of NZ Chefs, Restaurant Association of New Zealand, and Baking Industry Association of New Zealand. We are active participants in Manawatu Hospitality Awards and each campus is well supported by our local industries.

 Learning Facilities

Our students learn from industry experienced professionals and gain practical experience in our commercial kitchens and restaurants in Palmerston North and Whanganui.

 Domestic Entry Requirements

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

UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Cookery (Level 4) comprises 120 credits.

Full attendance is encouraged to maximise learning opportunities and to optimise success for students.  To meet external examination requirements, 80% attendance of practical classes is compulsory.

This programme may require students to work after hours when studying at the Palmerston North and Whanganui campus. 

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.

Your personalised timetable will be available just prior to classes starting, and will comprise a weekly commitment of:
  •  22.5 hours of lecturer supported learning (practical learning in UCOL's professional kitchen, theory and computer work)
  •  13 hours of self-directed learning (your own time spent on practical skill development, theory and computer work to complete your assignments)
Students at HLC Levin
Programme requirements may vary. Please contact your tutor for details.

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 or unit standards have already been met.

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.

 Additional Costs

Please note that there are additional costs associated with the New Zealand Certificate in Cookery of approximately $580 as follows:
  • UCOL uniform
  • Knives
  • Safety shoes

Optional - City & Guilds International, Level 2 Diploma in Food Preparation and Cooking (Culinary Arts) (8065 – 02) is approximately $200.


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.