PDA Professional Cookery SCQF level 7

Professional Development Awards (PDAs) extend or broaden professional or vocational skills and are linked to National Occupational Standards. The PDA in Professional Cookery at SCQF level 7 is a practical qualification that supports the continuing professional development of individuals who work in professional kitchens. The PDA in Professional Cookery at SCQF level 7 develops:

  • high level professional culinary skills
  • sustainable working practices
  • knowledge, understanding and practice of food safety principles
  • specialist craft skills in, for example, preparation of commodities, dish creation and menu development

This qualification is available through colleges and training providers.

It has been designed to be delivered as a taught course and will normally be available as a combination of practical activities delivered in training or production kitchens, with classroom-based lessons covering theory/underpinning knowledge, and self-directed study.

The PDA in Professional Cookery at SCQF level 7 has developed in partnership with employers and industry so it is suitable for the current sector.

It will help employers meet skills gaps and provide continuing professional development for staff, while learners will gain knowledge and skills needed for progression in the workplace.

It can also be offered to people who are in training and who wish to gain employment in the sector.

The unit-based structure aids timetable flexibility. Units are typically 40 hours of learning and they can be delivered on a full-time or part-time basis.

This PDA provides progression routes to further study (see Progression).

The target audience is those in work or seeking employment who require a specific skill set.


Entry is at the discretion of the centre.

Learners do not need to have formal relevant qualifications to enter this PDA. However, good communication skills — both oral and written — are required. In addition, learners would benefit from having attained skills, knowledge and understanding required by one or more of the following or equivalent qualifications and/or experience:

  • current or prior experience as a chef in a professional kitchen (centres may wish to apply a diagnostic practical skills test to establish the current level of skill of learners)
  • relevant SVQ at SCQF level 5 and above, for example an SVQ in Professional Cookery at SCQF level 5/6
  • National Certificate in Professional Cookery at SCQF levels 5 or 6
  • different combinations of relevant national or vocational qualifications and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies

The units in the PDA have been mapped against the National Occupational Standards for Professional Cookery.

Learners would have the opportunity to progress to a full HN qualification in Professional Cookery at SCQF levels 7 or 8.

Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority are required to come forward for approval and should contact SQA's Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Systems and Qualification Approval Guide.

The specific delivery requirements are set out in the Group Award Specification. Please also see our Professional Cookery information sheet (113 KB) for detailed guidance on approval requirements.

Each individual unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for each unit.

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

Each unit is assessed separately.

Assessment will allow candidates to enhance their own practice.  

Assessment/e-assessment support packs are available for this qualification.

Qualifications structure

Group award code: GR1X 47 (48 SCQF credit points)


The PDA in Professional Cookery at SCQF level 7 consists of 2 mandatory units (32 SCQF credit points) and 1-2 units from the options section (16 SCQF credit points).