Oliver Pont’s intention for his apprenticeship is to become the 4th generation of bee farmers in his family. Oliver is in the second year of a three year apprenticeship scheme under his father Neil Pont and already proving a valuable asset to Lincolnshire Apiaries, the family business.
The business has previously focused on bulk honey sales and packed a small percentage of the honey its bees produce. Oliver hopes to develop further the value added side of the business and has recently secured a deal to supply jarred honey to a chain of 85 shops in his region.
Oliver explains that many queen bees are imported from EU countries into the UK. In the next two years it may become difficult, or very expensive to import queen bees. Oliver therefore intends to develop queen breeding skills in order for the business to become self-sufficient in queen bees and take advantage of a likely growth in the domestic market. In the long term, his aim is to see the family brand of honey develop into a household name regionally. Oliver would like to grow the number of colonies the business runs, aided by the queen breeding program. Oliver hopes to contribute to the future and the ethos of bee farming in the UK.
According to Oliver, his training as an apprentice bee farmer will enable him to learn the skills his family has acquired over three generations and add modern techniques to those traditional skills. Oliver wants to attain techniques that will ensure a small family craft based business like Lincolnshire Apiaries has a future in a rapidly changing marketplace. At the end of three years training, he expects to be able to manage at least one hundred colonies of bees, which includes extracting the honey they produce. In addition to hands on experience, Oliver will also undertake the Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers Diploma of Excellence in Bee Farming.