Bee Workers to Key Workers

Since 2016, I have been teaching beekeeping to young people all over Liverpool, as part of a national scheme, Our Bright Future http://www.ourbrightfuture.co.uk/projects/bee-you/ to encourage young people aged 15 -24 yrs (as young as 12 yrs when working in a school) to think about a career in the environmental field. I have made lessons inclusive, fun and with enough information so that students can take home their learning and discover new things about honeybees and what they can do in their gardens.

Photography by Andrea Ku


Since April schools, universities and youth centres where I would usually be teaching have been closed. Blackburne House has thought of ways to continue the teaching which has been wonderful to still be able to deliver beekeeping training to new students not just from Liverpool but nationally. 


 Blackburne House had been developing a relationship with the Sustainability Department of Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust before lockdown. Therefore it was a natural step for us to offer beekeeping training to key workers. The interest for the 4-week course has been amazing, I teach on average 20 people per session. Individuals were from all departments of The Trust, such as Doctors, procurement and quality control to name a few.

 Photography by Andrea Ku


Teaching NHS key workers is not like teaching at schools! The first session alone was about the different honeybees in a hive - queen, worker and drone. The analytical and scientific mind of the NHS students was fabulous, they were straight off the mark with questions about honeybee DNA! I must admit, I was in a very fortunate position because I am a bit of a fan of honeybee DNA so was glad to answer a series of quite top-level questions on this subject, and we were only 30 minutes into the first session!

Photography by Andrea Ku

We are all now coming up to our last session and I asked for requests in what they would like to learn. DNA cropped up again as did particular pests and disease and the makeup of what wax, honey and royal jelly are and how bees produce it. These are not subjects I would usually teach the younger students, But the NHS students have certainly kept me on my toes! 


Delivering to key workers has been such a rewarding and amazing experience for me. I feel privileged to teach a subject that I know a lot about people who are doing such wonderful work in our hospitals and who I respect completely for what they know and do.


The lessons have become so popular that I will be teaching a new group of key workers as well as teaching their children as part of the Bee You/Our Bright Future scheme. Who knows, there may well be a family of beekeeping doctors in the house after everyone has had their training. 


Quotes:


"Many thanks for arranging this course it is really enjoyable and entertaining!"

"Thank you so much for the webinar - I was the bloke sat next to Gerry. Thoroughly enjoyable and informative."

"Thank you again for presenting the opportunity to us! Thoroughly enjoyed what was super fun and informative webinar, and I’m looking forward to next week."


Photography by Andrea Ku



I have created a Kickstarter, Bee Workers to Key Workers, to provide Liverpool beeswax balms to key workers to help soften and protect tired and chapped skin caused by PPE. I will be working with Blackburne House to provide teaching to young people as part of this Kickstarter. For more information on this, please go to: https://www.spacehive.com/liverpoolbeeworkers  


Written by Andrea Ku

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