One of the main functions of the Fleet Beekeepers Association is to promote best practice through beekeepers training using a combination of both classroom delivered theory and practical sessions mainly held at our dedicated training apiary, but also sometimes at members apiaries as part of a social gathering.
We provide training for new beekeepers up to the Basic Assessment standard as promoted by the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA). This is our “Beekeeping for Beeginners” course run on an annual basis starting each March and continuing over the next two years to teach new members all the skills they need to become competent, confident beekeepers.
Our course starts with seven weekly evening theory sessions followed by practical sessions, to consolidate the theory, in our association apiary during the active beekeeping season between April and September (weather and volunteers permitting). The following winter we deliver further theory sessions and go into more much detail about how to keep your bees healthy: how to avoid, identify and treat problems and illnesses; all about swarming: how to tell when your bees might swarm, what to do to prevent it, and how to collect and look after a swarm (from somebody else’s hive – obviously!).
Many of our students want to demonstrate their competence after a year or two of keeping their own bees and take the BBKA Basic Assessment – our course prepares our students very well (according to our regular assessor) for this assessment, which is often seen as marking the transition from a bee owner to a beekeeper.
For those members wishing to develop their skills further beyond this level we organise regular lectures with expert speakers on all areas of bees and beekeeping throughout the year. We also encourage those members with their Basic certificate to continue developing advanced skills including Queen rearing and swarm collections and may assist those members wishing to take further BBKA theory modules and/or the General Husbandry and Advanced Husbandry assessments.