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Bee Farmers’ Association Apprenticeship Scheme : 9 Future Opportunities

We do not plan to abandon our students at the end of the three years. We hope they will fi nish with skills which will make them highly sought after for employment with existing bee farmers. We also envisage that a course of this breadth of study and practical work will enable them to set up a business on their own. We plan to negotiate with one of the big banks to run a scheme to support these start-ups.

What is the BFA?

The Bee Farmers’ Association is the voice of professional beekeepers in the United Kingdom.

• integrated pest management • pollen and nutrition • botany and forage sources • queen rearing and stock improvement

• seasonal management • processing hive products • bottling and presentation • equipment cleansing and recovery

• carpentry including basic woodworking skills

• setting up a business • fi nance • business structures • marketing • the competitive environment • the industry worldwide

• fi rst aid • health and safety • food hygiene. There will be 46 weeks of practical work on the bee farm each year. There may be opportunities to work on different bee farms throughout the country and visit different bee farming set-ups to gain a variety of experience. We would ideally like to offer some experience abroad as well. We are speaking to the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers about support for this. Will there be opportunities at the end for the apprentice?

Who Will Our Apprentices Be?

Meet Tom – he is 22 and lives in Cornwall. When he left school with nine GCSEs he did an animal care course at a local college. Since then he has done a bit of labouring work in France and voluntary work at his local Oxfam shop. He cannot fi nd a job. His mother and grandfather are amateur beekeepers and he now has one hive of his own. He is keen to make it a career and has helped two local bee farmers in the South West. Neither is a big enough operation to offer him a job. He says: ‘I would love to be one of your fi rst apprentices. I would love to make bees my career but there is no formal training available. I don’t mind where in the UK I go as long as I get proper training’.

August 2013 Vol 95 No 8

The association is the largest contract pollinator in the UK and our members are responsible for virtually all the migratory pollination. They are also responsible for the majority of the UK honey sold in bulk to honey packers and to the large retailers.

Full membership requires more than 40 hives. Some of our members have more than 2000 hives. BFA members adhere to a Code of Conduct – unique among beekeeping associations. The BFA is affi liated to the National Farmers’ Union and the Honey (Packers) Association.

The Work of the BFA

• To monitor and keep members informed about developments in commercial beekeeping, bee science and UK and EU legislation.

• To liaise with farmers, growers, contractors, consumers and other organisations.

• To liaise with UK Government departments dealing with beekeeping, medicines and allied matters.

• To liaise and co-operate with other beekeeping organisations.

• To build relations with European beekeeping organisations.

• To contact European beekeeping organisations and seek representation on the EU Honey Working Party (COPA–COGECA).

• To lobby politically through MPs and MEPs.

The BFA is also a member of the following organisations: • Confederation of National Beekeeping Associations (CONBA)

• European Professional Beekeepers Association (EPBA)

• Honey Association • Associate member of the NFU. ¤

Further Information

Would you be interested in becoming one of our trainees or do you know of anyone who might benefi t from an introduction to a fascinating and rewarding career? If so contact Margaret Ginman via e-mail: margaret.hendal@

Bee Farmers’ Association website: www.beefarmers.

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