Apprenticeship Program

The Orange County Beekeepers Association (OCBA) promotes beekeeping for people of all ages and supports beekeeping by young people through the Apprenticeship Program. Each year two new beekeepers between the ages of 10 and 16 that live in Orange County, NC are selected, supported and sponsored in beginning their beekeeping adventure by the OCBA. The goal of the Apprenticeship Program is to introduce young people to beekeeping and to provide the support needed to become successful beekeepers. In return, OCBA Apprentice Beekeepers commit to promoting beekeeping in North Carolina by completing the requirements of participation in this program.

Through the Apprenticeship Program the OCBA provides the following to the selected Apprentices:

  • Enrollment in the OCBA Bee School at no charge
  • An experienced beekeeping mentor
  • Honey bees and the beekeeping equipment needed to start beekeeping
  • A one year membership in the Orange County Beekeepers Association

The total value of this equipment, materials and instruction is estimated to be over $600.

How to Apply

The application period for the 2017 Apprenticeship Program has closed. OCBA expects to accept applications for the 2018 Apprenticeship Program in the Fall of 2017.

When applications are being accepted, interested young people can apply to participate through the OCBA website.

Selected applicants will demonstrate the following in their application to the Apprenticeship Program:

  • Enthusiasm and willingness to learn and participate in all aspects of beekeeping
  • Interest in animals, insects and/or livestock
  • Ability to work both collaboratively and independently
  • Highly motivated and responsible
  • Support of a Parent or Guardian

Requirements of Participation

Once an applicant has been selected to participate in the OCBA Apprenticeship Program, the applicant and a parent or guardian will sign an agreement to complete the following Apprenticeship Program Requirements.

  • Remain a resident of Orange County North Carolina for the duration of the Apprenticeship Program
  • Properly keep and care for all equipment and materials provided by the Orange County Beekeepers Association
  • Stay in contact with their beekeeping mentor on at least a monthly basis
  • Keep a journal to record beekeeping activities throughout the year, which may include photographs and other material to support the end-of-year presentation to the OCBA
  • Purchase any additional supplies, materials and/or equipment needed to keep the provided honey bee colonies alive and healthy during their participation in the Apprenticeship Program. This is estimated to be between $50 and $150 during the term of the Apprenticeship Program.
  • Attend the OCBA Bee School and any associated workshops or field days scheduled for school participants. The OCBA 2017 Bee School is 1 night per week beginning on January 17 and finishing in March or April.
  • Attend 8 out of 11 regularly scheduled OCBA monthly meetings during the term of the Apprenticeship Program
  • Assist the OCBA Fair Committee in the preparation, development and/or installation of the OCBA display at the North Carolina State Fair.
  • Volunteer for and participate in at least one public outreach event on behalf of the OCBA
  • Give a 10 to 15 minute presentation at one of the OCBA monthly meetings on their experiences, observations and lessons learned during their one year Apprenticeship.

Upon successful completion of these requirements, all equipment and materials provided by the OCBA to Apprentices becomes the property of the Apprentice. If at any point the Apprentice is unable or unwilling to complete the requirements of the Apprenticeship Program, the Apprentice may be required to return all provided equipment and materials to a designated OCBA representative in good condition, or to reimburse the OCBA for the cost of the equipment and materials. Under extenuating circumstances, the OCBA Executive Committee may consider the Apprentice’s request to waive this requirement. The decision to waive the requirement is at the sole discretion of the OCBA Executive Committee.

If you have any additional questions please send email.