Most good employers will require that you have at least a basic chef qualification before they hire you. Training is usually done on a day-release basis or by attending college full-time. Courses vary in duration according to their level and intensity. Mature students may, for example, take one year to do what school leavers normally attend for two years to achieve.
There are lots of courses on offer, and there is often funding available so you might not even have to pay for your training. Have a look at the resources below to help you research what training might be available to you.
You should also be aware that a Basic Food Hygiene certificate is a legal requirement for all food-handlers in the UK. Obtaining this usually only requires spending a day at college. The course can also be done online in three hours for a total cost of £25 + VAT.
City & Guilds offer over 500 courses in 28 industry sectors, including catering. Check out the “learners” section of their website:
City & Guilds
Many local colleges offer free vocational courses as long as you fulfil certain entry requirements. Find out what’s on offer there by searching for your local college in your favourite search engine. Here’s an example of the type of thing which might be available in your area.
Carshalton College: Free courses for adults
For a massive resource with everything from a search tool to find courses running in your area (UK postcodes only), to an online Master Chef course, recipes, articles, features and more, the food section of the BBC website is hard to beat.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) also offers a variety of apprenticeships and training so if you fancy life in the British Army, Royal Navy, or RAF, then check out the MOD’s job seekers page.