Rebecca’s buzzy being the world’s first bee apprentice

Bee apprentice Rebecca Marshall
Bee apprentice Rebecca Marshall

A budding bee keeper is on the road to realising her dream of taking on the family business after becoming the world’s first bee apprentice.

Rebecca Marshall is working with her father Ged at Oakfield Honey Farm in Steeple Claydon.

Bee apprentice Rebecca Marshall (both pictures by Peter Rutland)

Bee apprentice Rebecca Marshall (both pictures by Peter Rutland)

And to hone her skills further she enrolled on the Bee a Beefarmer apprentice scheme, which will help to drive the family business forward.

Rebecca, 26, has always loved nature, but started a career in sales working for Aalco in Aylesbury before returning to her first love in 2013.

And the apprenticeship has taken her all over the world, offering sponsorship for trips to bee farms in countries including New Zealand and Denmark.

She said: “I’ve always been a very outdoorsy person and bees are really fascinating.

“We need bees, they pollinate a massive percentage of the food crops and are really important for supporting life for humans and animals.

“When the apprenticeship opportunity came along I wasn’t sure at first because it is a three year commitment, but I am so glad I’m doing it now.

“The average age of a bee farmer in this country is 66, so it is important to get the younger generation involved, it is what I want my career to be.”

She added: “My dad loves that someone else in the family is getting involved.

“He has worked really hard for this business and he is really pleased that I will be carrying it on.”

The apprenticeship scheme was set up by Rowse and the Bee Farmers Association, and now has ten apprentices on its books.

A spokesman said: “The scheme is designed to equip young people with the skills and knowledge needed to make a successful career in bee farming, and looks to stem the decline in British bee farming in the UK.

“Research shows that the number of beehives in the UK has declined by 73% over the last century, falling from 1million hives in 1900 to just 270,000 in 2015.

“Young people on the scheme like Rebecca will not only give a much needed boost and future proof the industry, but also encourage other young people to apply to be a bee farming apprentice.”