One of the core aspects of the Beehooligans is the apprenticeship program. I will give you some details about this on this page.
Why an apprenticeship program?
It has long been a firm belief of mine, through experience and observation that one learns best by doing. Apprenticeship is the longest observed method of teaching and learning the craft of apiculture throughout history.
Apiculture in this project is engaged in as a craft or trade and as such, is taken seriously in giving future beekeepers the education they need to learn the Whats, How’s and Why’s then applying them in the field.
It is in this way that we get better prepared and more capable beekeepers who can be successful at maintaining healthy, thriving honeybee colonies. These also become the cadre for future mentors, educators and trainers.
What’s The Point?
The point is to have better educated and more capable beekeepers going forward. The future of bees and beekeeping lies in the success of keeping bees healthy and thriving now. that requires people who take apiculture seriously, much more than a hobby and more engaged as a craftsperson.
Who Can Be an Apprentice?
The Apprenticeship is targeted especially toward veterans. They get a priority in selection. Having said that, anyone can register age 16 and older. Because of the time considerations and activities involved, such as bee rescue, we look for a degree of maturity, availability, and a mindset of coming into beekeeping as a trade or a craft rather than as a hobby.
At the beginning of the Apprenticeship, all participants are provided access to protective gear, equipment, tools, etc.. at no cost. After reaching a certain level, they will be expected to start obtaining these items for themselves. Participants will be informed well in advance to these points so as to give plenty of time to do so. (for those with certain financial considerations, continued access to these items can continue.)
How Does It Work?
The Beehooligans Apprenticeship program intends to prepare veterans and others to become successful beekeepers, mentors and potentially future leaders, trainers and educators in the Beehooligans project.
New apprentices are accepted as “Beekeeper Recruits” at the beginning and are more involved in taking classes and learning the tools, equipment, gear, etc.. of the trade. they act as helpers to the apiarists and beekeepers doing the work in the apiary.
Once they have completed the classes and have demonstrated minimum required skill identifying the above, they become a “Beekeeper Apprentice”. At this level, they are now working side by side with beekeepers and Apiarists to inspect hives and become familiar with the internal workings of the colony.
Having successfully demonstrated the knowledge and skills above, They become a “Beekeeper”. This process from ‘Recruit’ to ‘Apprentice’ to ‘Beekeeper’ takes up the first year of the apprenticeship.
The second year of the apprenticeship builds on the general knowledge and experience gained in the first year and expands upon it more in depth as well as introducing new information and skills that enables the beekeeper to truly become more self sufficient and capable of taking honey bee colonies from year to year.
Advanced skills in the second year include
- Queen selection and rearing
- Honey and wax harvesting, uses, and products
- Beekeeping Mentoring
- Bee rescue operations
What Happens Then?
At successful demonstration of the above, the Apprentice will be presented a Certificate of Achievement certifying that have have successfully demonstrated the skills and knowledge required to manage honey bees colonies to an objective, specified, requirement and is now considered a qualified Beekeeper.
A certified Beekeeper from the Apprenticeship is then able to enroll in the Master Beekeeper program to be offered in the future.
Those who complete the initial Apprenticeship program are welcome to join the Beehooligans as a Team Lead. They are able to help teach Apprenticeship classes and guide Apprentices in the apiaries and out on rescue ops. Those completing the Master Beekeeper program will be eligible to become a Project Apiarist, helping to manage sub-apiaries and teach in the Master Beekeeper program.
How Do I Start?
Please start the process by filling out the simple, online form below. All information must be complete and there will be a phone interview and an in-person interview on site in an apiary before selection. For the 2020 Apprenticeship program, please submit this form by March 31st, 2020.