Student Profile

Michael Latimer - Apiculture

Michael Latimer - Apiculture

“I was spending 11.5 hours a day in a job I didn’t like - I realised it was time to change and work with something I was passionate about. My girlfriend served as a great role model because she had just landed a job on a cruise ship after studying at NorthTec, so I started researching. My father had some bee keeping experience and I was keen to learn more, so apiculture was my choice.”

“The more you learn about bees, the more you realise there is to learn about them, and I love that our learning is so practical. We get to feed and monitor the bees with our really knowledgeable tutors and we have two hive sites, one in Opononi and one in Kaikohe East. Our course splits into two teams to care for them, and each team rotates the jobs so we all get a go at everything. On wet days we focus on theory.”

“As well as apiculture, we learn about running a small business so that we’ll be able to manage our own hives and by-products if we want to. This was more of a challenge for me, especially the stuff around business plans, business structure and taking care of stakeholders, but it’s given to us in a way we can understand – and it gets our brains working.”

“I’ve been really surprised at how much I’ve learnt about myself through the personal development part of the small business programme, and amazed to think we’d learn that in an apiculture course. It’s so much broader than I imagined and I’m confident now in my abilities. There’s heaps of motivation here from the tutors and from the other students to keep upskilling and I’m loving it. We split up to study small business or apiculture, then swap over, but we’re like one big family and we go on field trips together to some of the apiculture operations run by big companies.”

“We get given a hive when we complete the course and I’m hoping to use the resources from here to eventually build up a small family-orientated business, but first I want to get employment at one of the big companies to gain more experience. The bee industry has some challenges at the moment but education is part of the solution.”

“Now that I’ve found what I love, I’d encourage other young people to find something you’re passionate about. Learn as much as you can, don’t limit your challenges but challenge your limits, put yourself at the top of your field and lift others up when you get there. Consistent hard work leads to success and greatness will follow.”

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