New Commercial Beekeeping Course Unique in Canada


The first beekeeping vocational program in Canada for the education and training of commercial beekeepers will be offered at the Fairview campus of Grand Prairie Regional College (GPRC), Alberta, Canada. The college is now accepting applications for the program’s January 2012 launch.

Certificate in Commercial Beekeeping

This 45-week course of vocational training will provide its graduates with the substantive knowledge, skills, and practical experience needed to work in commercial beekeeping.

Graduates will be prepared for employment in Canada, the US, and other parts of the world as:

  • Apiary assistants and field supervisors with commercial beekeepers;
  • Technicians with government agriculture departments;
  • Self-employed beekeepers; and/ or
  • Project coordinators for beekeeping/honey production projects
    in the developing world.


The program strikes a balance between theoretical and practical learning, combining classroom study with industry work experience and practicum visits to large commercial beekeeping operations.

One unique feature is the 26-week paid work experience in which students are placed with commercial beekeepers, where they will earn a salary as they gain hands-on experience in beekeeping and honey production.

Curriculum

Theory of Apiculture
January & February (8 weeks)

  • BK101 (2) Basic Apiary and Field Skills
  • BK110 (3) Technical Woodworking
  • BK122 (1.5) Introductory Botany
  • BK132 (4) Honey Bee Biology
  • BK133 (1.5) Introduction to Bee Diseases and Management
  • BK134 (5) Hive Management for Honey Production

Program break (1 week)

March to September

  • BK135 (5) Queen Rearing (3 weeks; May/June)
  • BK200 (5) Beekeeping Work Experience

Program break (1 week)

Business of Beekeeping
October & November

  • BK310 (1.5) Food Safety and Regulations for Beekeepers
  • BK320 (5) Business of Bees
  • BK331 (3) Advance Management Options for Beekeepers
  • BK332 (4) Product Processing, Packaging and Marketing
  • BK333 (1) Processing and Packaging Field Trip
  • BK361 (2.5) Integrated Pest Management
  • BK365 (1) Bees and the Environment

“The launch of the Commercial Beekeeping Certificate Program by GPRC is a significant step forward in the development of a successful and sustainable bee, honey and pollination industry in Canada. Canadian beekeepers will be the recipients of a more knowledgeable workforce to address the many concerns the industry is now facing,” according to Corey Bacon, Chair of the Canadian Honey Council.

For more information about the Commercial Beekeeping Certificate program at GPRC, contact Chris Laue, Dean of Trades, Agriculture and Environment, or visit gprc.ab.ca/programs.

Photo: Hives of north Alberta by l’insouciant1, on Flickr