HomeProgrammesChef Training & HospitalityNew Zealand Certificate in Cookery (Level 4) (In-work)

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

Level 4

Sharpen your cooking skills and obtain a nationally recognised cookery qualification while you work. Check out the UCOL Te Pūkenga NZ Certificate in Cookery In-Work now!

Learner chef preparing a dish
Quick info

Level: 4

Locations: UCOL Te Pūkenga Manawatū in Palmerston North, UCOL Te Pūkenga in Whanganui, UCOL Te Pūkenga Horowhenua in Levin

Duration: 1 year full-time (40 weeks)
(See Course Hours & Duration for details)

Palmerston North, Whanganui & Levin
12 Feb 2024 – 15 Nov 2024
22 Jul 2024 – 06 Jun 2025

Domestic Fees: *

Scholarship info

International Fees:*
Please enquire for details

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.

 Course Hours & Duration

This programme runs for 40 weeks, including 6 holiday weeks.

Per week, your learning will include approximately:

Class Time
4 hrs

Lectures, tutorials and/or online recordings, cookery practicals, timetable set by your lecturer.
Industry Experience
20 hrs

Work integrated learning.
Study Time
12 hrs

Study in your own time.

 Career & Study Outcomes

Successful graduates of the UCOL Te Pūkenga 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 an 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

Note: As a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, UCOL Te Pūkenga is committed to providing the best learning outcome for you. As part of this, all programmes are currently being reviewed to make them portable, consistent, and closely aligned with the needs of the industry. When published, this course information is correct, but the courses offered may change over time. If you have any questions call an Enrolment Advisor on 0800 468 265.

This programme consists of 120 credits.

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
Note: Horowhenua ākonga are required to travel to UCOL Te Pūkenga Manawatu in Palmeston North for workshops.

 Student & Staff Profiles

 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 Te Pūkenga 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

English language proficiency
If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5.5 with no band score less than 5 (or equivalent including TOEFL). IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (i.e. combining scores from more than one test is not permissible).


For more information about NCEA Credits see the UCOL Te Pūkenga NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

This programme is not available to internationl learners.

 Advice & Guidance

You will be required to work a minimum of 20 hours per week in an UCOL Te Pūkenga 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.

Learners 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 Te Pūkenga Te Pūkenga 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:
  • UCOL Te Pūkenga Te Pūkenga uniform
  • Knives
  • Shoes/Boots
  • NZ Chef 4th Edition Text Book (optional - additional $153.99)


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education and Training Act 2020, and Universal College of Learning Limited, a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga is accredited to teach it.