Kiwi’s swarm to beekeeping

Kiwi’s swarm to beekeeping

Beekeeping, or apiculture, has become one of our fastest-growing industries as demand for New Zealand honey rises.

To meet the demand for beekeeping training Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) is delivering the New Zealand Certificate in Apiculture, Level 3(external link) from September this year.

Primary Industries Curriculum Manager Pam Wood is thrilled that NMIT is able to offer a beekeeping programme in the region as it complements the viticulture and horticulture programmes.

“Beekeepers have an important connection with the vineyards and kiwifruit orchards across Te Tauihu, so there is a natural cross over with our other programmes,” says Pam.

“Because the workshops are held on Saturdays, with Zoom tutorials in the evening during the week, this programme is also very accessible to learners who need to fit it in around their employment.”

Running September to May, the programme follows the natural season for bees—from getting active in spring to preparing hives for winter.

Students will learn how to build a hive, and create and care for a colony. They will be able to keep their hive after the programme has completed.

Other topics include collecting honey, understanding bee behaviour and feeding bees.

The apiculture industry offers a range of employment opportunities and graduates from the certificate programme will be able to work as assistant beekeepers for commercial operators, as independent beekeepers with a small number of beehives or even develop their own business.

There are around 900,000 beehives registered with Apiculture New Zealand and since the pandemic there has been a huge demand for starter colonies for backyard, urban and commercial beekeeping.

Thanks to a history of good beekeeping practices and strict biosecurity legislation New Zealand enjoys a healthy bee population.

As part of New Zealand’s COVID-19 recovery plan the New Zealand Certificate in Apiculture (Level 3) is eligible for fees-free under the Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF).

It is delivered with blended learning, with two Saturday block courses per month at either the Marlborough or Richmond Campus.

Programme: The New Zealand Certificate in Apiculture (Level 3)(external link)
Venue: Richmond or Marlborough Campus
Sessions: Two Saturday block courses per month plus fortnightly, evening Zoom sessions
Start date: 30 August 2021

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