Professional Cookery NC Level 6

What is special about this course?

Challenge your ability and extend your range of creative approaches to the preparation and display of food and you will be better prepared for a satisfying career in this booming industry sector.

This advanced course will focus on the more complicated aspects of food preparation, advanced cooking methods, menu planning, product knowledge and the importance of the “final plate up”.

The hospitality industry is vital to Scotland’s tourism sector and a key part of our economy. Hotels, bars, restaurants, canteens and cafes all require skilled chefs to plan, design and prepare food to the highest standards. 

You will be based in the professional training kitchen in Fort William. Students will combine practical cooking days with classroom theory sessions each week.

Entry requirements

Applicants must have a passion for cookery and be willing to work hard and commit to the requirements of the course. It would be beneficial for candidates to have relevant National 5s or the NC in Professional Cookery/Hospitality at SCQF level 5. Mature students will be considered on merit. All candidates will attend an interview.

Course will include:

  • professional cookery: practical
  • professional cookery: knowledge
  • professional cookery: kitchen operations
  • food hygiene for the hospitality industry
  • hospitality costing
  • health and safety in hospitality
  • pastry
  • work placement
  • practical skills for employment
  • leading a hospitality team
  • enterprise activity
  • embedded development of core and essential skills

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time

Each week will comprise of scheduled, connected learning time and flexible learning time. You need to commit to both, but you can choose when to complete flexible learning to fit around work, caring and personal commitments.  Some flexible learning must be done on a weekly basis. 

Connected learning is when you learn together with lecturers,instructors,students and others. Connected learning happens at a scheduled time in a practical workshop, an online-classroom, a studio, a specialist classroom, the workplace or in the outdoors.

Flexible learning covers lecturer directed learning and self-directed learning.

Lecturer-directed learning is weekly learning activity, for example:
• posting your idea in a discussion forum,
• completing a quiz,
• practising a task, activity or idea
• watching a video or reading,
• discussing and working on a solution with another student,
• researching and gathering information,
• completing an assignment or project-based task.

Self-directed learning is your decision about further study and focus.  We encourage you to take ownership of your learning and areas of interest. You can ask us to help you to determine areas for further development.

As and when it is appropriate and safe to do so, your connected learning will take place in the professional kitchen.  However, during periods of social distancing restrictions, some of your learning may need to move to an online-classroom.  This will include a combination of video conferencing, interactive chat and sharing of presentation slides and other visuals. Online-classrooms provide you with real time interaction, contact and discussion with your lecturer and fellow students.

How long will my course last?

34 Weeks

Where can I study my course?

    • Fort William

Start date



Most students have their course fees paid as this is a full time course. Please read our Fees & Funding information pages for more information regarding residency, previous study and bursary rates. Please contact if you have any further questions.

Rest of UK students : For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man), with a term-time address in Scotland, studying full time, the course fee is £5,800.

Some of our courses require students to have essential equipment/clothing.

If you are under 18, you are entitled to have essential equipment paid for whether you are entitled to Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) or not. However you must complete an application even if you know that you're not entitled to EMA.

If you are 18 and over and are eligible for a bursary, these costs will be met through your bursary. If you are not eligible for a bursary, you will need to fund these items yourself.


Students may qualify for bursary funding.

What can I do on completion of my course?

You could consider studying HNC Professional Cookery with us or take your skills straight in to employment.


Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

I’ve really enjoyed my time at college, building on skills I already had but learning so much more at the same time. The lecturers are brilliant and so helpful to students. They always come up with solutions and feedback. My favourite has been patisserie, but I have benefited from working with all types of meat and fish. There is just so much to learn. I plan to move onto the HNC next and I’ll keep my part time chef job, so I’ll be learning in two places and putting into practise new things every day.

Glen Suttie

Glen received the Strathmore Award for demonstrating determination and goal setting to develop skills, knowledge and understanding of professional cookery within the hospitality industry.

Doing Professional Cookery in college has really helped my job opportunities.

I had worked in kitchens in Spain before I came to Fort William. I decided that kitchen work would be a good starting point for employment. I wanted to improve my skills, so came to college. Studying 3 days a week, I can combine work and study. This has opened the door to industry for me. I would recommend the course.

You can always learn while working but there is no pattern to what you do in a busy kitchen so there can be big gaps in your knowledge. Also learning here in college with a group is good –as we all compare each other’s presentation and we can watch and learn from others.

Alfonso Iglesias Rodrigues

Apply for Professional Cookery NC Level 6

I want to start in 2021/22

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at West Highland College UHI. West Highland College operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.