Otago Polytechnic

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




One semester

On campus with work experience 

February and July
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    19 February 2018
    16 April 2018 - 27 April 2018
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 our Technique 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.  

Youth Guarantee Scheme: If you are a 16-19 year old and feel that school didn't work out for you, you may be able to study this programme via our Youth Guarantee Scheme and pay no fees. This also applies if you are going to be 15 years old at the time that this programme starts and you have an early exemption from school. Please note that there are limited Youth Guarantee places available for this programme and therefore funding cannot be guaranteed. 

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. 
  • If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5.5, with no band score lower than 5.0.
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.

Youth Guarantee information

To be eligible for Youth Guarantee funding, you must:

  • Be a domestic student between 16-19 years old
  • OR be 15 years of age at the time when you commence the programme AND have an early leaving exemption from your school

  • Not already hold a Level 3 qualification in any subject
  • Have been thinking about leaving school and getting a job OR prefer to be working towards a career rather than staying at school OR have left school and are not sure how to enter higher education or employment
  • Want to learn practical skills
  • Be more motivated in a non-school setting and be prepared to enrol in a full-time programme.

Fees and allowances

The Youth Guarantee Scheme will cover tuition fees, material and equipment costs of your programme of study. 18-19 year olds enrolled in fees-free Youth Guarantee qualifications will now be able to access the course-related costs part of the student loan and student allowances if they meet the eligibility criteria. Those under 18 years old will not be able to access any part of the student loans. Funding for travel is available, conditions apply. Please visit the Studylink website for full details. We strongly recommend that you read this carefully prior to applying for this programme.  

The process

  • There is not a separate Youth Guarantee application form. Please apply for this programme by using our standard Otago Polytechnic application form. To apply online, or to download a paper version, click the apply button at the top right hand corner of this page.
  • If you meet the criteria for Youth Guarantee funding you will be offered the funding if it is available. We will ask you to let us know within two weeks if you do not wish to take up the funding. 
  • If there is no Youth Guarantee funding available, we will send you a letter advising you of this. Along with this letter, you will receive an invoice, terms and conditions, a Studylink brochure and an equipment list advising what you will need to purchase before starting your programme. 
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.

Apply Now