Certificate in Culinary Arts Level 3

20 weeks
Level 3
60 credits
Intakes: 15 July 2024, 19 August 2024, 23 September 2024

Love food? Whip up a new career at Ignites’ cookery school. Learn from top chefs in brand-new commercial kitchens, gain skills the cookery industry urgently needs, and build real industry experience with an internship.

Who can enrol?

If you are 16 years or older, seeking a stepping stone to a junior chef position in the cookery sector, start your journey here.

What will I learn?

This hands-on course will give you the knowledge and expertise you need to start your career in this fast-paced, creative industry. Build foundation chef skills in our cutting-edge training kitchens and complete an internship for some real workplace experience.

You will cover:
  • Basic dishes with meat, egg, fish, pulses, grains, rice, pasta, vegetables and fruit
  • Basic sauces, stocks and soups
  • Food safety
  • Workplace health and safety
  • Communication skills
  • 40-hour internship with an industry employer


What qualifications will I gain?

New Zealand Certificate in Cookery Level 3

Where will this take me?

This qualification will show employers you have the skills and knowledge to step into the industry in a junior level chef role. Work your way up from there – or give your career a boost by staying on to gain your Level 4! Either way you’ll stand out from the crowd by having trained at Ignite Colleges!

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about this course

What do I need to enrol?

It’s easy! All you need to bring along is proof of citizenship or PR. We’ll help you do the rest. If you are an international student, please contact us first.

How much does this course cost?

You might be eligible to do this course for free! Talk with our Student Support Team to find out. If not, you may be eligible for loans and allowances, and we can help you with that.

What time does my course start and finish?

This course runs from 8am until 12 noon, Monday to Friday.
* course time may be subject to change

Am I eligible for a travel allowance?

If you are aged between 16 and 19, yes! If not, we can sit down and discuss what assistance you might be entitled to.

What resources will I need?

We provide you with a chef uniform (including coat, trousers, apron and hat), knives and a bag. All you need to provide is a pair of closed steel toe non-slip shoes.

What does a typical day look like?

You’ll be in our brand-new training kitchens, learning about recipes and cooking. This course is very hands-on and will teach you everything from basic baking skills and knife skills to how to cook soups, meats and sauces. You’ll learn to create a variety of dishes in our realistic kitchen environment with professional chefs, so you’ll be ready to hit the ground running when you get a job.

Is work experience part of the course?

You will get plenty of hands-on experience during this programme – our cookery students cook for our school café ‘Study Break’, and also do the catering for Ignite Colleges industry functions and events.

This 20-week programme includes 15 weeks in the training kitchens, and five weeks out gaining real work experience in a café or restaurant. We have great industry contacts and can help you line this up. If you carry on to Level 4 you will have the opportunity to do an internship in Spain at a Michelin-starred restaurant.

We also encourage students to work part-time in a restaurant or café while they are studying. Classes finish by lunchtime so it’s easy to manage an afternoon or evening job – plus it’s a great way to put everything we are teaching you into practice!

Will you help me get a job?

Yes! As part of your course we spend time working on interview and CV skills to make sure you leave us work ready. We also bring in speakers from industry to talk to you about what today’s employers expect. As well as this, our tutors have great industry connections and can introduce you to potential employers.

What jobs can I apply for after completing this course?

This is a high-demand sector with lots of exciting job opportunities. Once you have done this course you could be a commis chef in a restaurant or café, or work for a catering company. We can help you find a job – or alternatively, stay on for Level 4 and keep building your skills.

Can I travel overseas with this qualification?

Yes you can! This qualification opens up exciting opportunities to travel overseas. Our chefs have international experience and contacts, and you may be able to connect to their networks.

Never before in history has food been such a big deal. What was once merely fuel to power our bodies, is now a multi-billion-dollar industry. This global foodie frenzy means one thing – training in culinary arts is a very smart move. There’s a huge shortage of qualified chefs in New Zealand – in fact it’s on Immigration New Zealand’s long-term skill shortage list.

By 2025 visitor numbers to New Zealand will be close to 5 million, and thousands more chefs will be needed. They’ll be needed in restaurants and hotels, cafes, bars, and catering companies. They’ll be needed in fast food joints, hospitals, retirement homes, schools, and government buildings. For chefs with talent, passion, and a qualification, the options are vast.

What makes a great chef?

As well as having an aptitude for cooking and a flair for food presentation, successful chefs need a wide range of other skills. During meal service kitchens can be frantic, so the ability to stay calm under pressure, and work quickly is crucial. The hours are long and often include evenings and weekends, so flexibility and stamina are prerequisites. Sound knowledge of everything from food safety to nutrition is a must, and chefs need to be able to work well as a team.

There are several other professional skills and personal attributes that will help set chefs on the path to promotion, including:

  • knowledge of budgeting and stock management
  • ability to price and plan menus
  • leadership skills and ability to train and supervise staff
  • cross-cultural awareness
  • efficient record keeping
  • keeping ahead of the latest developments in nutrition, food technology and cooking techniques
  • be reliable, adaptable and highly-organised
  • be strong and fit
  • excellent communication skills
Employment opportunities

This is a high-demand sector with lots of exciting job opportunities, so once qualified, the chances of getting a good job are excellent. Start off as a commis chef. You’ll earn between minimum wage and $18 an hour and work across all areas of the kitchen, preparing and cooking food and sometimes washing dishes and cleaning. Work your way up, and your salary and areas of responsibility will increase accordingly.

Chefs de partie usually earn $18 – $20 an hour and are in charge of one section of the kitchen. They train and supervise staff, plan menus and order food. Sous chefs are second-in-charge of the kitchen, and earn $18 – $25 an hour, while head chefs (or executive chefs) are responsible for the entire kitchen and could earn anything from $22 – $49 per hour.

While many chefs master their craft in restaurants, cafes and hotels, there are plenty of other workplaces that require the skills of a culinary arts professional, such as:

  • bars and taverns
  • cruise ships
  • corporate catering firms
  • hospital kitchens
  • airport catering companies
  • bakeries
  • fast food outlets

Or branch out into other food related areas – start your own business, become a food product developer or an artisan food producer.

The tourism and hospitality sector is currently New Zealand’s second largest export earner. Overseas visitor numbers have doubled every decade since 1970, topping 3.7 million in the year ending January 2018. And that number looks set to keep rising. Tourism spending is forecast to grow to 15.3 billion in 2023, and visitor numbers will rise by 39%. Each one of those visitors will need tourism staff, hospitality professionals and chefs to cater to their needs.