The Caterer

Career clinic

03 March 2005 by
Career clinic

The expert panel
Our expert panel comprises representatives from the Hotel and Catering Training Company (HCTC), MaydayExec, Bartlett Mitchell, Learnpurple, Conran and Portfolio International.

The question
I'm 28 and working as a chalet cook in France this winter for five months. When I return, I'd like to train to become a fully qualified chef. I have a mortgage, so I can't go back to education full-time. Could you suggest a course to follow?

Your best option would be to take a work-based S/NVQ. It's a nationally recognised qualification and one which allows you to work full-time, as you are assessed on your competency on a regular basis by an assessor who visits you in your workplace.

As you have already taken a short course and will have five months' experience when you return to the UK, you should have no difficulty in finding a business to take you on. Many businesses offer the opportunity to work towards S/NVQs and there may be funding available, which means that you won't have to pay for the course.

To find out more, contact your local Learning and Skills Council (England), Scottish Enterprise (Scotland) or ELWa (Wales).

You can find out more about work-based learning by logging on to
Johnny Johnson, communications manager, HCTC
- Each week our expert panel will answer your career questions. If you'd like to submit a question, send it to

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