Student Profile

Connie Tipene- Apiculture

Connie Tipene - Apiculture

“After a background in admin, I recently found beekeeping and it’s so fascinating that I’ll probably be learning about bees for the rest of my life.”

Connie was introduced to bees when her husband started working at a honey extraction plant. “It seemed interesting so I joined him at the plant, then without knowing what we were doing we bought 12 hives. Because I was keen to learn more, I enrolled for the apiculture course in Whangarei, loved it and realized how much there was to learn.”

Soon after she graduated from the level 3 course Connie got a phone call from NorthTec which she assumed was to encourage her to up-level her study to level 4. “Instead I was massively surprised to hear they wanted me to teach the level 3 course part time. I said yes and most of my first course time was working one-on-one with a 19 year old student with ADHD who previously had struggled to find meaningful work. He got really hooked on bees, spent heaps of time working in our NorthTec hives, and now runs his own pollination business.”

Connie’s Pathway Manager, James Smith, says that she showed a great deal of empathy for her student and was determined to see him realize the first step of his dream. “Connie’s approach is positive and encouraging, and we offered an innovative and supportive option to deliver training that traditionally would not have been possible. Connie’s passion for bee-keeping inspires others and was a key reason she was offered the teaching position. We have a small but very experienced apiculture team so I know the technical support is there if required.” 

Connie now has a class of 15 students, is studying for her Certificate in Adult and Tertiary Teaching, and is keen to keep improving her own beekeeping skills and knowledge. “NorthTec have been so supportive giving me a chance to grow into what is now a career and a calling. My life has completely changed in the last four years.”

Related Programmes