PDA Professional Cookery SCQF level 7

PDA Professional Cookery SCQF level 7

This PDA 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, classroom-based lessons covering theory/underpinning knowledge, and self-directed study. This PDA could typically be delivered over 36 weeks/8–10 hours per week.

Why deliver this qualification

The PDA in Professional Cookery at SCQF level 7 has been developed in partnership with employers and industry so it is fit for purpose.

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. This qualification can be delivered on a full-time, part-time or day release basis.

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

Who does this qualification suit

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 5 and above, eg SVQ 2 Professional Cookery
  • National Certificate in Professional Cookery at SCQF 5 or 6
  • Different combinations of relevant National or vocational qualifications and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies


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

Learners would have the opportunity of progressing to a full HN qualification in Professional Cookery at SCQF level 7 or 8.


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

Centres without devolved authority will have 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.

How to assess

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

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

Assessment will allow candidates to enhance their own practice and specialist culinary techniques.

Assessment support packs are available for the units in these qualifications.

Where can you take this course?

Qualification Structure

Group award code: GL2W47 (48 SCQF credit points)

To achieve the PDA in Professional Cookery at SCQF level 7 candidates must complete 6 SQA credits in total, 5 SQA credits from the mandatory units and a minimum of 1 SQA credit from the optional units.

Group Award Specification