Job title: Beekeeping Advisor. Location: Auchincruive
What does your role at SRUC involve?
SRUC delivers education, training and knowledge transfer on behalf of the Scottish Government to meet the outcomes of the Honey Bee Health Strategy for Scotland. The main aim of this strategy is to achieve a sustainable and healthy population of honey bees.
As a beekeeping advisor, I travel around Scotland to deliver lectures, workshops and training to local beekeeping associations. I manage the advisory activity AA119 bee health program to achieve this.
Why is your role important to SRUC?
My goal is to strengthen working partnerships between stakeholders in the honey bee industry in Scotland, SRUC, Scottish Government, Scottish Beekeeping Association, Bee Farmers Association and the diagnostic team at Science & Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA).
Representatives from these groups meet regularly under the umbrella of the Bee Health Improvement Team (BHIT) to take forward the main aims of Honey Bee Health Strategy for Scotland.
What have you enjoyed most about working at SRUC?
I was actually a student at Auchincruive in the late 1980s to early 1990s, so SRUC has been in my blood for a long time. I’ve seen many changes over the years – some good, some not so good – but the most enjoyable thing throughout the years has always been the people I meet doing the job I enjoy.
What have been your highlights of working at SRUC?
This year, one of the events I organised was a Bee Health Awareness Day, one in Dumfries and another in Tarland (Aberdeenshire). It was great to meet with the beekeepers in these areas and deliver an event to them that aids in the health of the honey bee colonies. It was really great to work with a good team in organising the events, with all stakeholders in the BHIT team involved.
What do the upcoming months have in store for you?
I’m probably most looking forward to running training courses, evening lectures and workshops on a variety of subjects to promote best practice in the management of honey bee colonies across Scotland. I also enjoy working closely with national and regional beekeeping associations and meeting with the BHIT team.
What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t at work?
Believe it or not, my main hobby is beekeeping! I have a few hives of my own that I look after. In the winter I like to travel abroad, and I have three kids that take up most of my spare time as a taxi driver!
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