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Aico Celebrate WoodMor’s Successful Beekeeping Programme for Derwen College Students

Written by:
Lisa Sadler
Posted On:
22nd March 2024

Aico was a hive of activity earlier this week, as they hosted a celebratory event at its headquarters in Oswestry, showcasing the success of the WoodMor Foundation CIC.

The WoodMor Project runs an employability programme ‘Becoming a Beekeeper’ designed for students at Derwen College with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Through this year-long programme, sponsored by Aico, students gain valuable transferable employability skills such as patience, organisation, and problem-solving, all while learning the fascinating art of beekeeping.

The event highlighted the programme’s impact on Sophie Dempsey, a Derwen College student, who created a compelling MeMovieTM showcasing the skills she developed throughout the year. This MeMovie, available to watch on WoodMor Foundation’s YouTube channel, can be a powerful tool for Sophie to demonstrate her newfound abilities to potential employers.

With Aico’s sponsorship and support from WoodMor, Derwen College has established multiple beehives on-site, managed with the help of their students. Their dedication has resulted in the production of their own Derwen honey, and they’ve even extended their beekeeping knowledge by assisting other local businesses.

“This was a fantastic celebration event enabled by Aico for the Oswestry community, It’s been a phenomenal success, and we couldn’t be prouder of the entire team at Derwen who have been so supportive of the project, not to mention the real star Sophie, who’s self-esteem, confidence and communication skills have grown tremendously since the beginning of the programme, furthermore her reliability and commitment to the programme have been exemplary. Sophie’s MeMovie shows indisputable evidence of her employability skills. Sophie is studying Hospitality, Food and Beverage at Derwen and is looking to gain employment in this area. She’s now also an avid beekeeper and hopes to take her Level 1, beekeeping qualification in the summer.” Explained Matt Wood, WoodMor founder.

The WoodMor Foundation have been working in partnership with Derwen and Aico for the last 18 months and are rolling out our Becoming a Beekeeper employability programme to other SEND colleges together with other charities locally.

The event brought together key figures who contributed to the programme’s success. Representatives from WoodMor, Derwen College, and Sophie herself were present to answer questions from attendees, including the Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire, Anna Turner, the Mayor of Oswestry, Olly Rose, Gobowen & Selattyn Parish Council Chairwoman, Cllr Erica Morgan, OsNosh and even local beekeepers!

Laura Opechowska, Community Liaison at Aico, commented on the event, “It was a pleasure to be part of and attend the launch of MeMovie. The event was a huge success, and the live bees were fascinating! Learning about the growth and achievements of students like Sophie, who participated in the ‘Becoming a Beekeeper’ programme, was very insightful. This initiative nurtures practical skills and provides a sense of purpose and confidence in each participant. It’s great to see the impact collaboration and dedication can have on transforming lives.”

Guests were treated to a unique experience, including a chance to see live bees in an observation hive, beekeeping suits and equipment demonstrations, honey tasting, and an array of beeswax products.

Aico are committed to supporting students in their local community and believes that programmes like these are essential to empower the next generation of learners.

Find out more about the programme at


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