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UPDATE

We received a fantastic response and hundreds of applications for this year’s Bee-a-Beefarmer Apprenticeship campaign. Please email beeabeefarmer@rowsehoney.co.uk for more information if you are interested in applying for the 2017 scheme. We will be selecting new applicants later this year.

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Did you know that honey bees nearly always need beekeepers to survive in the UK? Wild honey bees are nearly extinct in our country, so we are relying on our beefarmers to look after the bees that live in managed hives. Unfortunately, commercial beefarmer numbers have been dropping steadily here for years. Plus most of the beefarmers we do have are older and are often retiring without passing on their valuable bee knowledge to a younger generation.

Rowse Honey and the Bee Farmers Association (BFA) are trying to get more young people into beefarming by launching Bee A Beefarmer – a unique, three-year apprenticeship scheme – and the good news is – we’re searching for apprentices to join our programme.

The first of its kind, the scheme is specially designed to equip young people with the skills and knowledge needed to make a successful career in beefarming and give a much needed boost to the British beefarming industry. The number of beehives in the UK has declined by 73% over the last century, falling from 1 million hives in 1900 to just 270,000 in 2015 with only 638 commercial beefarmers operating today.

Successful applicants will have the opportunity to work alongside some of the most experienced beefarmers in the country. Alongside on-the-job training, apprentices will receive practical courses delivered by industry experts, with areas of study including everything from queen bee rearing and stock improvement (selective breeding of queens to ensure that the colony produces the best bees and the most honey), through to marketing, finance and health and safety.

Those who complete the programme will be awarded an official beefarming accreditation – the Excellence in beefarming Diploma, by the Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers, providing a solid foundation for rewarding career in the field.

FAQS

How do I know I’m eligible to apply?

Beefarming provides a lifestyle like no other. You’ll be working in the great outdoors with unpredictable hours according to the needs of the hives, so enthusiastic, self-starters are welcome!

No qualifications are required, but applicants should be aged 16 – 24, passionate about nature, have a curiosity about the natural world and a keen business mind. Get ready for a solid, life-long career in commercial beefarming.

If you are over the age of 24, you can still apply for the scheme. However, the apprentices’ wages are part-funded by the government, who place an age restriction on the funding that they provide.  So if you are over 24, we cannot guarantee that you would be paid for a future beefarming apprenticeship. We would still encourage you to submit your application, as each applicant will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Is this a paid or unpaid scheme?

Apprentices will be paid directly by their employer (their host trainer.) As a minimum, this will be in line with national minimum wage; however it is likely to be above this rate.

What career options does the beefarming apprenticeship scheme open up?

There is a diverse range of career options open to apprentices following the training scheme. Current apprentices are specialising in honey production for use in the food industry and wax production for use in the cosmetic industry.

Throughout the scheme, there may be opportunities for apprentices to work on different bee farms throughout the country and visit different businesses in order to gain breadth and variety of experience and make contacts throughout the industry.

How do I apply?

Applicants interested in taking up commercial beefarming full time can send their CV, along with contact details and a covering letter to beeabeefarmer@rowsehoney.co.uk. Use the covering letter as your chance to capture our attention; we want to hear what relevant skills and experience you would bring to the role and why you think you would be suited to a career in beefarming.

 

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UPDATE

We received a fantastic response and hundreds of applications for this year’s Bee-a-Beefarmer Apprenticeship campaign. Please email beeabeefarmer@rowsehoney.co.uk for more information if you are interested in applying for the 2017 scheme. We will be selecting new applicants later this year.

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