A team of young beekeepers will get an all expenses paid, life-changing trip to Slovakia where they will socialise and work with fellow young beekeepers from almost 30 countries. They will be representing the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) at the International Meeting of Young Beekeepers (IMYB) from the 3 July to 7 July. 

Three of those selected are 14 years old and there is a 16 year old reserve. All of them had to pass written and practical exercises either individually or in a group and show that they were competent at handling honeybees. 

They were also followed by a team from the Discovery Channel who will be following them to the IMYB and finding out how beekeeping differs around the world. 

The IMYB has been the premier annual event for young beekeepers since 2010. Started in the Czech Republic, this international event has grown every year with more countries sending their brightest young beekeepers to learn, socialise and compete with each other.

This year 35 countries are taking part including Canada, Australia and many African, European and Middle Eastern countries. The young participants feel like part of a growing international “family” of young beekeepers that usually stay in contact afterwards facilitating overseas links around the world, learning more about this ancient skill from each other.

Each country has their own selection process to choose their brightest and best aged between 12 and 16, and the BBKA’s English team participants were chosen at a selection day held recently at the association's HQ in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire. Unlike some countries who have some 3500 eligible applicants, we had far fewer, although every year the net grows wider.

Selected participant Natalie, 14 from Liverpool, said: “I was really made up to be selected last year and had an amazing time in France meeting other young beekeepers and making new friends. This year I’m lucky to be selected as team captain and am looking forward to going to Slovakia as I know it will be brilliant!”

William, 14, from Chesham, said: “I was amazed to be selected and am keen on working in agriculture and possibly bee farming for the future. I’ve never been outside the UK and this is a great opportunity”.