Places are still available for an apiculture foundation course starting in October.
The two week course at Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre is part of the government initiative to help people who have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 lockdown to start a new career in the honey industry.
It is a joint venture between the Ministry of Primary Industries, UCOL, Eastern Institute of Technology and three local beekeeping companies – King Honey, Comvita and Oha Honey.
The first week of the course sees participants get practical experience with the 15 hives at Taratahi, while the second week they go on work experience with local companies, says Simon Bailey, team leader for primary industries at UCOL Wairarapa.
At the end of the course participants are equipped with some entry level skills for the apiculture industry.
The course is tutored by well-known Wairarapa apiculturist Peter Ferris who has a wealth of knowledge and is enjoying passing on what he has learnt over nearly 50 years in the honey industry.
“He does a great job with participants, he is so passionate” says Simon.
The course is a great way for people to get a start in the industry, he says, “starting at the bottom and working your way up. It is a really good career path.”
Simon has noticed a lot of the participants in the just-completed first course are older but anyone 18 and older can come and experience the course..
“They are in their thirties and forties and they are motivated to work. A lot of people we see in the course are displaced from the work they used to do. They want to keep working and making an income.”
Simon believes the course is best for people who have a little bit of an interest but anyone can come and experience what it is like to be up close and personal with the bees.
The course is fully funded and runs from Monday to Friday.
Click here to find out more about the course.