At a time when threats to beekeeping are reported with increasing frequency, it’s heartening to know that the interest in taking up the craft is healthy and growing. All our beekeeping associations have reported a healthy increase in numbers on the Beginners Courses this year, which bodes well for the strength of beekeeping in the County. In addition to the excellent work carried out by local associations in running these courses, following the Basic Assessment and Modules courses provide an opportunity for all beekeepers to consolidate and develop their knowledge.

The BBKA website gives full details of what is involved in the Examination Programme. Talk to your local committee about local initiatives. Any society can organise a Basic Assessment Course, which is entirely practical in nature. The assessment will be carried out in the summer months, -the BBKA provides a list of approved Assessors.

The Modules require more intensive study, but open up a fascinating world of bee behaviour and honey production which can be very rewarding. The examination day is normally the third Saturday in March, with the closing date for applications being at the beginning of February. You can take the exam at a venue arranged within a reasonable distance from your home. You can study for these by correspondence course or, depending on the interest and expertise available, it may be possible to arrange evening classes in the autumn and winter months in your locality.

The Examinations Secretary provides the administrative link with the BBKA in arranging the examinations.

What if you want to add to your beekeeping knowledge at other times of the year? Opportunities are available at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire, where a series of short courses aimed at improving your beekeeping are offered. The week-long Summer School of the Irish Beekeeping Federation held in Eire in July, provides a wealth of teaching and experience and also provides the opportunity to take the Irish Beekeeping Certificates.

Full details are held by the Education/Examinations Secretaries in each of the associations, contact through their websites listed on our home page.