The Exam Board has issued the following statement regarding the exams and assessments due to take place this Autumn. The notice will also appear on the website and social media and in the BBKA News.
‘The global outbreak of COVID-19 has meant that we have had to limit socialising and gatherings, to help prevent the spread of this disease. Inevitably, this has had a huge impact on the BBKA exam system, that relies on candidates, assessors, and invigilators to meet in close proximity or travel some distance away from home.
Following the feedback from many associations and individuals on the matter, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel the BBKA assessments for the remaining part of 2020. These include Show Judge certificate in October as well as Module exams and Microscopy assessments in November.
The main concern of the Exam Board is the safety of all candidates, assessors and invigilators. While some associations have indicated that they may be able to facilitate the Module exams, others have advised against it. We want to offer equal opportunities to all members who wish to take the BBKA exams. With the current situation however, we do not feel this is achievable for all involved.
Candidates who have applied for assessments in 2020 will get free transfer for 2021, or get their fees refunded if they prefer. Due to the cancellations of the exams, the condition that candidates need to have taken all Modules within 12 years of the first module taken has now been removed.
We know how much value beekeepers put on the BBKA exam system. To support those who continue on their learning journey, we are exploring alternative ways to hold the Module exams and hope to have solution in place for the early part of 2021.’
Education & Training is an important part of the Devon Beekeepers’ Association. Regular winter lectures and summer demonstrations are run & organised by all of our 11 Branches across the County each year. We also provided specific courses aimed at helping beekeepers at various levels of the craft.
Introductory Courses for new Beekeepers are organised at Branch level, aimed at newcomers to beekeeping, and those in their first year, they prove very popular and are well subscribed. The courses are programmed to provide a firm basis from which the beginner can progress in his or her own time, and covers basic beekeeping in a number of regular sessions. It usually takes place during the winter months, and is held in a village hall or classroom environment in the evening. It endeavours to answer fundamental questions, which are in most people’s minds when first considering taking up the craft. “How much time will it take? What will it cost? Will I get stung?” It then goes on to introduce the honeybee, dealing with elementary biology and life cycle. It covers hives, tools and personal equipment, and deals with swarming, and setting up an apiary. The principals of bee handling are covered, and honey production and harvesting, together with over-wintering, feeding and husbandry. Honeybee maladies are dealt with, and pests and predators, and plenty of time is allowed for questions.
This winter course then usually leads on to a Practical Course, which starts the following spring. This again deals with basic beekeeping, but allows the opportunity to open up hives, and handle bees. It covers the use of the smoker and other tools, swarming, queen marking, what to look for in the hive, honey extraction and preparation for winter. The course usually lasts right through the summer months, and is again organised at Branch level, where they have their own Training Apiaries.
The next step offered by most Branches is an improvers course which is aimed at those members who have been keeping bees for a couple of years and want to improve their skills.
For those with an academic interest, this courses can be a useful precursor to the British Beekeepers’ Association’s examinations in beekeeping proficiency. These begin with the Basic Assessment, the Bee Health Certificate and through a modular system lead to the Intermediate Certificate, and Senior Certificate, right up to the National Diploma in Beekeeping. To assist and encourage in this process, the Devon Beekeepers’ Association through its Branches organise study groups, as and when required, where students can work in a convivial atmosphere, supporting each other towards a common goal.
The DBKA is also involved in educating & informing the public on the importance of bees in the environment and, to that end, all Branches will happily provide speakers to talk at local organisations, schools and events.
National Diploma Beekeeping Short Courses.
The National Diploma in Beekeeping (NDB) exists to meet a need for a beekeeping qualification above the level of the Certificates awarded by the United Kingdom National Beekeeping Associations.
The Diploma is the highest beekeeping qualification recognised in the United Kingdom and its holders are generally well-known figures within beekeeping education.
The NDB Board is entirely independent although its members come from a wide range of beekeeping organisations and it has representatives from all the National Beekeeping Associations.