Australia has a rich heritage in beekeeping, producing some of the world’s highest quality honey. However, there is a current skill shortage amidst an ageing profile in the industry. As such, Capilano aims to help future-proof beekeeping in Australia by training a new generation of beekeepers.
There’s a lot more to professional beekeeping than meets the eye; from having a deep understanding of colony balance, seasonal requirements and bee health, to business acumen and solid trade skills. In a nutshell, the job is diverse, demanding but above all, rewarding.
For many in our beekeeping community, beekeeping is a family tradition. Many beekeepers have been lucky enough to learn the craft alongside their parents and grandparents – who, in turn, learnt from their parents and grandparents.
However, it seems that fewer and fewer young people consider beekeeping as a viable career option. This could be in part because the older generation of beekeepers, who have successfully fuelled the home-grown industry for many years, are retiring without having the opportunity to pass down their valuable knowledge of the craft.
In 2016, Capilano formed a 50/50 joint venture beekeeping enterprise ‘Medibee Apiaries’ with New Zealand company, Comvita.
To help keep the ancient craft of beekeeping alive, we are working with MediBee Apiaries on the launch of a unique scholarship program to equip future beekeepers with the knowledge and skills to ensure the sustainability of the profession in Australia.
As such, we are offering school leavers of any age the opportunity to apply for our inaugural MediBee Scholarship – a three-year paid apprenticeship scheme that will see the successful applicants become qualified Capilano beekeepers upon completion.
This newly created program includes a full-time paid position at a Medibee apiary of choice, in either Glen Innes (NSW) or Evans Head (NSW), where the successful candidates will be trained in all aspects of beekeeping including husbandry, extraction, and logistics alongside a qualified mentor.
In addition, the successful applicants will have the opportunity to complete a Certificate III in Beekeeping (AHC32010) at Tocal College, with all course fees and associated travel costs fully covered. At the completion of the three-year program, the apprentice will become a qualified beekeeper for Capilano with all licenses and compliance courses paid for, and further opportunities to complete a management course available if they choose to do so.
This round of applications are now closed, winning applicants will announced in May 2017. Stay tuned for more information.