|Forida Uddin has been appointed as the Claverhouse Group’s first honey development worker and hopes to have jars of the training organisation’s own sweet treat on the shelves by next summer.
Forida graduated from Dundee University with a degree in zoology and, though she had no previous hands-on experience of bees, she is far from being a bumbling amateur.
“I studied bee conservation and preservation as part of my course at university, so when I saw this job advertised I decided to go for it,” she said.
A little nervous of her new charges at first, she is learning quickly from her mistakes and now has no problem working around the hives.
“I have been stung twice,” she explained.
“I was wearing very thin gloves, but I am now fully protected and I really enjoy it.
“I’m one of the lucky people who enjoy their job and love to come into work.”
Forida has been appointed for six months, initially, as part of the Future Jobs Fund scheme, which gives unemployed young people training and work experience in areas that benefit the community.
Local beekeeper John Tait has donated the first colonies of bees, which have set up residence in hives assembled at the Claverhouse training workshops using timber salvaged from the refurbishment of the Dundee College campus at Gardyne Road.
To give the bees the best chance to thrive, the hives have been placed at a secret location where they won’t be disturbed by the public.
The enterprise also involves Claverhouse gardening projects, which are busy creating new habitats for the bees to feed on.
“It’s so exciting to see everything come together at last,” said project leader Wendy Jackson, who has been planning the launch of Claverhouse Honey since last autumn.
“The winter has been spent networking with other beekeepers and learning about how to care for these fascinating creatures.
“Everyone has been incredibly supportive and willing to share. We’re now looking forward to getting our bees settled, happy and productive.”
Group chief executive Alastair Cameron said, “This enterprise is a winner in so many ways.
“We have a unique opportunity to help the environment by halting the decline in bee numbers at the same time as creating a sustainable business.”