Otago Polytechnic

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New Zealand Certificate in Food and Beverage Service (Level 3) (Café Services) (Bar Services)




One semester

On campus with work experience 

February and July
by 30 November and 30 April. Late applications will be accepted based on availability of places.
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    22 July 2019
    30 September 2019 - 11 October 2019
Energy and enthusiasm are essential qualities for the hospitality profession.

This hands-on programme is your first step towards a rewarding and stimulating career within the largest industry in the world. Employment opportunities are endless and a qualification in this area is your passport to live and work across New Zealand, or practically anywhere else on the globe.

You provide the energy and enthusiasm, and we’ll give you the chance to gain the valuable skills needed for front line service in the café and bar sector. These work-ready skills will enable you to join the Hospitality industry at entry level as a qualified food and beverage attendant.

During this programme, you will focus on professional café and bar service including counter and table service, food preparation, cocktails and bar service with barista knowledge.Your learning will be very practical as we offer training opportunities in safe and secure real-work, and simulated work experience situations. Training facilities on-site include Manaaki – our training restaurant, Ozone Café, Eden Café and AKO – our student-operated café – and an industry work experience placement will allow you to practice your newly-acquired skills in a real world environment.  

Skills required
  • Good communication skills
  • To have a good work ethic
  • Maturity and honesty
  • The ability to work well under pressure
  • Confidence when dealing with customers.
Entry requirements
  • There are no academic entry requirements.
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure you are ready for this study.  

All students (international and domestic) for whom English is not a first language:

  • must demonstrate English Language skills with an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5.5, with no band score lower than 5.0 OR
  • must provide acceptable alternative evidence of English language proficiency depending on the visa decline rate of the country you are from. See here for acceptable evidence and visa decline rates by country.

Please note: All scores must be achieved in a single test completed in the preceding two years. You cannot combine scores from multiple tests. If you have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance you are not required to provide evidence of English Language skills. 

Additional requirements and documentation

You must supply your academic records along with certified copies of proof of identify and proof of residency (where appropriate).

All applicants must submit a letter of no more than 500 words which explains:

  • why you have chosen to study this Certificate
  • your expectations of the programme
  • your career goals in the hospitality industry
  • the steps you have already taken to progress your career goals to improve your chances of being accepted into the programme.

You may also have to undertake an interview.

Selection procedure

If the number of applicants who meet the selection process requirements exeed the available places, a waitlist will be used to ensure preference is given to applicants in order of application.

Additional costs

During your induction day, you have the opportunity to purchase your full uniform from Otago Polytechnic's preferred supplier. You should expect to spend approximately $500 on additional programme specific equipment. This will be covered by the 'Course-Related Costs' section of your student loan (if you are eligible). 

Programme specific risks

There are a number of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) issues associated with practical work in areas specific to a commercial kitchen and café environment. These include, but are not limited to, burns from hot liquids or hot objects and cuts from sharp instruments.

Alcohol tasting and consumption may be a risk for some individuals. In compliance with the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, parental consent for alcohol consumption as tastings in line with curriculum specifications must be obtained if you are under 18 years of age. Risks will be outlined in more detail during the programme.

Please note: Consumption of alcohol is NOT a compulsory part of the course and other methods of identifying and obtaining knowledge of products can easily be employed on request.

Your workload

This is a very hands-on programme and you will spend 70% of your time in an applied, directed learning situation. You will then be expected to contribute 30% of self-directed study.

Programme content

Gain an introduction to front line service skills for a range of hospitality services and service styles. This will enable you to understand the hospitality work environment.

You will learn how to describe and apply basic service operations in the food and beverage sector to meet industry requirements, be introduced to skills and techniques associated with commercial café operations and commercial bar operations, and assess the practical capabilities of work ready front line Food and Beverage servers in two real-work commercial environments.

Further study options

Progress into our New Zealand Certificate in Food and Beverage Service (Level 4) (Restaurant Services) to advance your skills and increase your employment opportunities.

Student loans and allowances

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 

Recognition of prior learning

If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to practical experience in this area, enquire about our recognition of prior learning process at Otago Polytechnic.. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification. Phone 0800 762 786 or email info@op.ac.nz.

Links to useful websites

Discover what's on the menu at the Dunedin training restaurant.


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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