Bee farming firm takes on apprentice in ‘Scottish first’

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A start-up business with a “pioneering” approach to the farming of heather honey has taken on what is thought to be Scotland’s first apprentice in the sector.

The Scottish Bee Company has taken on gardener Katie Warwick little more than six months after it was launched.

The Edinburgh-based firm was established by husband and wife team Suzie and Iain Millar with a view to boosting the country’s dwindling bee population, increasing pollination and growing employment opportunities.

Ms Warwick who previously worked as a gardener in London, contacted the company to find out more about bee farming after learning about the business’s work.

Scottish Bee Company apprentice Katie Warwick
Apprentice Katie Warwick gets to work (Scottish Bee Company/PA)

The 32-year-old, who grew up in London and has family in Scotland, said: “Being in gardens almost all day every day for the past seven years, I watched bees with fascination and have always been an advocate of using plants that attract as many pollinators as possible.

“So, when I read about The Scottish Bee Company, I was keen to find out how I could help become involved.”

Mrs Millar said: “We’re excited to welcome Katie to the team. Apprenticeships have proven to be successful at creating jobs and skills for other sectors and when Katie approached us, we contacted the British Bee Farming Association, which is sponsored by Rowse Honey, to see how we could bring Katie on board.

“As a result and with their support, we were able to create an apprenticeship.”

The Scottish Bee Company has bee hives located around Scotland, from Dumfriesshire, the Lothians and Stirlingshire, to Fife and Aberdeenshire.

Initially, it produced heather honey but went on to add blossom honey to the offering.

Firm bosses say they have so far secured contracts with the likes of The House of Bruar in Perthshire and artisan cheesemonger IJ Mellis.

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