FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
How many certification levels are there?
There are nine levels in total. Click here to find out about them on the welcome page
How do I know which level I should apply for?
There is a standard set of criteria for each level which you are required to review before applying. These criteria are set out in the handbook which is available for you to download on our certification website.
What is the application process?
Click here to see the application process to see an overview of the application process.
I have applied for the wrong level, but have already paid and received the Learning Assistant account. Can you transfer my application for the correct level?
No, unfortunately, you cannot. It is your responsibility to ensure that you apply for the correct level. Information on each level is freely available on our website and there are several reminders during the application process, asking you to make sure you apply for the correct level.
I’m a pastry chef, but I want to apply for the Master Chef level? Can I do that?
The application is open to anyone who has the right level of skills, experience and expertise. Therefore, if you are able to meet the criteria for the Master Chef level, you may of course apply.However, as a pastry chef, it may be more appropriate for you to look at the criteria for the Master Pastry Chef level and see if you are able to meet them click here to see the MPC homepage.
What is included in the application fee?
The application fee covers your personal Learning Assistant account, access to the assessment materials for the level chosen, the assessment process and the e-certification.
I don’t have a witness? Can I apply without a witness?
No, unfortunately you cannot. You must have a witness who is able to confirm your level of expertise and skills.
What do I do if I don’t have the required level of experience for the level I want to apply for?
You may want to have a look at the lower levels and see if you can meet the requirements set for those levels. If you feel you don’t have the required level of experience for a particular level, you should not proceed with an application. Instead, have a look at the requirements for the lower levels.
Do I have to wait seven years to apply for a different level?
No, you don’t. You may apply for a different certification level any time. Please remember that each level requires a different level of skills, expertise and experience, so you will need to make sure that you meet the requirements for the next level up.
Do I get any credit from my previous level if I apply for a higher level before the current one expires?
No, you don’t. We treat each application on an individual basis. It is your choice to apply when you want to. Each certificate is valid for seven years, from the date of issuing.
I have failed my application, can you ‘transfer’ my evidence for the lower level?
No, we cannot, sorry. You can however re-use and re-submit the evidence that meets the requirements for the lower level, but the evidence will need to be uploaded under the new application in Learning Assistant for the assessor to see.
I have paid the fee, but failed my application. Can I apply again?
Yes, you can. Please note that each application requires an application fee to be paid.
What is the difference between registration and application?
Registration is the process you go through on the WACS website, once you have read the standards and when you confirm that you want to apply for certification. As part of your registration, you will be asked to confirm the level you want to apply for, enter your personal details and make a payment (for the application fee). Application is the process when you gather and submit your evidence in Learning Assistant to a WACS assessor for evaluation. It is during the application process that you are required to complete the application form, among other documents, and also demonstrate your knowledge, skills and experience appropriate to the level you have chosen.
I speak poor English, is there anyone to assist me? Where can I get extra assistance/help?
You will need to have a basic level of English in order to be able to apply. You are allowed to seek help from friends, family and colleagues to help you understand the form and the instructions. However, the evidence you submit must be your own work and those helping you with the application must not provide the answers for you. You will be asked to sing a ‘candidate declaration’ when you submit your application to confirm that the evidence you are submitting is your own work.
I don’t speak any English. Can I apply in another language?
No, not at this stage. The certification scheme is currently only available in English. It is in our plans to launch it in other languages, too, but we do not yet know when it is going to happen.
How many times can I apply for the same level (if I failed)?
You may apply as many times as you would like, but you will be asked to make a new application every time and pay the application fee every time. The WACS assessor will provide you with feedback on why you did not succeed (if you failed), so you should take this feedback into account and make sure that the areas of weakness have been addressed. This will help to ensure that your next application is successful.
Do I have to be a member of a chefs association to apply for WACS certification?
No, you don’t. The WACS certification system is open to everyone.
What happens once I paid?
Once you complete the registration process and make a payment, you will be issued with a Learning Assistant account and will receive your log-in details by email. You are then ready to start your application.
I don’t understand the information on the website. Can I speak to someone instead?
The WACS certification scheme is an online scheme and, to keep costs (and the application fee!) as low as possible, we don’t have customer call team on stand-by to take calls. You can however email your queries to WACS and the team will do their best to give you guidance on where you can find the information you require.
Can I apply by post or through an organisation?
No, you cannot. The scheme is online and all interactions happen online. We will not be able to accept applications by post, email or any other means other than applications submitted through Learning Assistant.
I cannot use a computer? How can I apply?
The scheme requires a minimum of level of IT literacy. If you are unable to use a computer and there is nobody to help you, you may not be able to apply. You may want to think of friends, family members or colleagues who could help. You are allowed to ask for help with the IT side of the application such as making the payment, downloading the forms and uploading and submitting the evidence, but you must ensure that the evidence you submit is your own work.
PREPARING FOR ASSESSMENT
What is Learning Assistant?
Learning Assistant is an electronic portal which allows candidates who apply for the WACS culinary certification programme to submit their evidence online.
When will I receive my Learning Assistant username and password?
You will receive our log-in details (username and password) after you have paid the application fee on the WACS website.
How will I receive my username and password?
You will receive your username and password by email from the 'Learning Assistant'. If not please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Can I use my first username and password for future applications?
No, you cannot. You will receive a new Learning Assistant account with each new application. Each Learning Assistant account has a unique username attached to it which cannot be re-used, for quality and audit purposes.
Can I send my application by post (instead of using Learning Assistant)?
No, you cannot. All evidence must be uploaded in Learning Assistant.
I lost/ forgot my password? How can get them?
You can send an email request to WACS email@example.com.
How many attempts do I have to submit the required evidence?
You have two attempts in total: your first (original) submission and your second (final) submission.
The first submission is when you submit your evidence for the first time.
The second submission is when you submit additional evidence/criteria, as required by the WACS assessor. You must ensure that your second submission contains all the information/evidence the assessor asked for as this is your final chance for you to add anything to your application, before a final decision is made.
What documents do I need to proceed to submit my evidence?
All the documents you require will be available in Learning Assistant. You will also have a Candidate guide to explain what you need to do with each document.
I’ve submitted my application form already, but they were the wrong form/s, can I resubmit again?
You are allowed to make two submissions in total. You can make changes after your first (original submission), but not after your second (final submission). We therefore always ask candidates to double check what documents they have uploaded to make sure they are the correct files.
What do the coloured blocks mean, in Learning Assistant (grey, blue, green, purple)?
The coloured blocks show your progress on the certificate scheme:
- Grey (light blue) means you have been given access to Learning Assistant, but are still gathering your evidence
- Blue means that you have made your first submission. Your evidence is with the assessor for evaluation.
Your blocks will remain blue during your first (original) and second (final submission).
- Green means that you have successfully completed an element and are awaiting final sign-off for certification. Once your blocks have turned green, you don’t have to do anything.
- Purple means that your results have been submitted for certification and you will receive your access details to your electronic account from WACS.
I don’t understand how to use Learning Assistant. Who can help?
As part of the application process you will have access to a detailed Candidate guide to Learning Assistant which will provide you with a step-by-step explanation on how to use Learning Assistant. Please make sure you read this document carefully as it has all the information you require. If you still have questions, you may email WACS firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions.
I don’t understand the instructions on the forms. Who can I contact for assistance?
Please check the Candidate guide to Learning Assistant as it contains the instructions you require. If you still need some help, you may email WACS email@example.com.
Can I use short video clips as evidence?
No, we currently do not accept video clips as evidence.
I forgot to save some documents in my Learning Assistant account, what do I do?
Just log back into Learning Assistant and upload your completed forms. If you haven’t spotted that some of the documents are missing, your WACS assessor will notify you and ask you to submit the missing documents.
Does it matter in which order I download the forms and documents in Learning Assistant?
No, it doesn’t. It is practical to follow the order in which the forums and the documents appear on the screen, just to that you can easily keep track of where you are, but it is entire up to you.
I can’t open one or two of my forms in Learning Assistant?
Try to exit the RESOURCE folder and go back again. If the problem persists, please email WACS firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m missing a form, according to my check list. What do I do?
All the forms are within the relevant folder in Learning Assistant. However, if you think a form is missing, please email WACS indicating which form you cannot find email@example.com.
Where can I find reference numbers on my applications?
We don’t use reference numbers as such. Your personal reference is your Learning Assistant username which you will be asked to add to the forms you will complete.
How long do I have to prepare my evidence for assessment?
You may three months to prepare your evidence.
Can I upload my evidence in Learning Assistant over a period of time (ie not everything at once)?
Yes, you can, no problem. However, please note that the 30-day assessment period will only start once all of your evidence has been uploaded.
How long do I have to complete the information in the application?
You have a maximum of three months to complete your evidence, including the application form.
How do I edit a piece of evidence that I’ve uploaded correctly?
Evidence uploaded can be edited as long as it has not yet been submitted for assessment. Please refer to the Candidate guide to Learning Assistant, available in your Learning Assistant account, for detailed instructions.
How do I delete a piece of evidence in my Learning Assistant account?
Please refer to the Candidate guide to Learning Assistant, available in your Learning Assistant account, for detailed instructions.
Can I use other types of evidence which still shows the same thing?
No, you cannot. The WACS assessors will only be able to accept the evidence which is outlined in the scheme documentation so make sure this is what you are submitting.
What exactly is a candidate declaration?
The ‘candidate declaration’ is a formal statement that you, as the candidate, make to confirm that all the evidence you submit in Learning Assistant is your own work. If there are ever questions over the authenticity of the evidence submitted, this statement will be referred to.
Why do I need to sign a candidate declaration?
The ‘candidate declaration’ confirms that you, as the candidate, understand that you are required to submit your own work and the evidence you are submitting is your own work. WACS can use this statement as evidence if there are questions over the evidence you have submitted.
How much detail is required for the description of menu item?
If you are required to submit a recipe for a menu item, you will need to include the name of the dish/product, ingredients, directions, cooking/baking methods and equipment used.
Why do I require witness signature for evidence?
The witness is a person who is technically able to comment on your work and culinary skills. This person is likely to be your manager, the owner of the culinary operation or a peer (subject to approval by WACS). The witness provides an external confirmation that you have demonstrated the skills and experience required.
Can I get my teacher to sign as a witness?
If you are completing a course to become a Professional Cook and your school has been approved by WACS for the fast track application route, your teacher will be able to act as a witness. In all other cases, the witness is likely to be your manager, the owner of the culinary operation or a peer.
ASSESSMENT/ PROCESSING OF APPLICATION
What is a referral?
You are given a ‘referral’ when your first (original) submission has some gaps and your WACS assessor asks you for more information or missing/new piece of evidence. It essentially means that you need to do a bit more work to get a pass.
I’ve submitted my application form and I’ve waited one week and I’ve heard nothing so far from WACS?
Your application will be assessed by WACS within 30 calendar days. You may, if you wish, set up an email notification in your Learning Assistant account so that you receive an email when your WACS assessor has looked at your application. Please refer to your Candidate guide to Learning Assistant for instructions.
Will I get feedback on my application form?
Yes, your WACS assessor will provide you with feedback on your application form. You will receive a feedback even if you have been successful to say that no further action is required.
Can I communicate with my WACS assessor?
You will be able to communicate with your WACS assessor in your Contact Diary within Learning Assistant. However, please note that the WACS assessor will be in touch with you on a maximum of two occasions:
- after your first (original) submission to provide you with a complete list of what is missing from your application (if anything)
- after your second (final) submission, if there is a second submission, to advise you on the outcome.
The assessors will be unable to answer any other queries.
What is the green tick in my application?
The ticks and the question marks are used by the assessors to mark which requirements have been achieved and which require a bit of work. You don’t need to worry about these as the assessor puts them into Learning Assistant. The green tick means that you have completed a particular requirement.
What is a question mark in my application?
The ticks and the question marks are used by the assessors to mark which requirements have been achieved and which require a bit of work. You don’t need to worry about these as the assessor puts them into Learning Assistant. The question mark means that something is missing from a particular requirement and you will be required to submit further information/ evidence.
Do I have to put in the ticks and/or question marks?
No, you don’t. The ticks and the question marks are used by the assessors to mark which requirements have been achieved and which require a bit of work. You don’t need to worry about these as the assessor puts them into Learning Assistant.
When will I receive my certificate if I’m a successful candidate?
You will receive your certificate after your results have been verified by WACS. This typically happens within a week of your evidence being signed off by your WACS assessor, but in some cases it may take a few more days. Our aim is to issue the electronic certificate within no more than 14 calendar days. You will receive an electronic certificate (pdf) through an electronic certification system called ‘mycertis’. Log-in details and instructions will be send to you in due course.
Can I order extra copies of my certificate?
Yes, you can. As part of the scheme, you will receive an e-certificate which you can print, if you want to. You can however also order a professionally printed certificated, on the original certificate paper, which will have the hologram and all the built in security features.
How much will the certificate cost?
At the bottom of each page you can look at the application fees for each certification.
How long is the certificate valid for?
Each certificate is valid for seven years from the date of issue.