Rolls-Royce established the Goodwood Apiary at its Global Centre of Luxury Manufacturing Excellence in 2018, which is today home to six colonies of around 300,000 English honey bees.
“The Rolls-Royce Apiary has proved tremendously popular and rewarding since we established it three years ago. Thanks to media interest around the world, our bees have become minor celebrities, and their progress is monitored closely by our customers and followers worldwide,” says Richard Carter, Director of Global Communications and Chief Beekeeper at Rolls-Royce.
He adds: “with Spring now upon us, and the wildflowers and blossoms appearing across our site and the surrounding countryside, we’re inviting five colleagues to act as volunteer beekeepers for the new honey-making season. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get directly involved in bee conservation, which is so critical in supporting a healthy, sustainable ecosystem and human food production. Plus, colleagues can take pride in helping the bees to create a natural product that’s available in even smaller quantities than our renowned motor cars!”
The bees have consistently thrived in surroundings perfectly suited to their habits. As well as feeding on the myriad wildflowers and trees that grow across the 42‑acre Rolls‑Royce site, the bees can forage on the manufacturing plant’s sedum-rich living roof, which at around eight acres (3.2 hectares) is the largest in Britain. Should even this bounty prove insufficient, they can simply cross into the neighbouring Goodwood Estate, which offers 12,000 acres (4,900 hectares) of suitably august sustenance.
The Goodwood bees have achieved near-cult status on social and other media, with followers around the world eagerly monitoring their progress and activities through the season. The bees even enjoy representation on the Rolls-Royce Board through Richard Carter, who combines his principal duties as Director of Global Communications with the equally weighty role of Chief Beekeeper, ably assisted by Beekeeper Jason Hampton.
With the arrival of Spring, the apiary is gearing up for another season’s labour on its rare and precious natural product – the ‘Rolls-Royce of Honey.’ To support Carter and Hampton during this busy and important period, Rolls-Royce is inviting its colleagues to become volunteer beekeepers. Potential candidates will be invited to attend an introductory session; those selected will receive training in beekeeping techniques and equipment, funded by the company, to prepare them for their new role.
The beekeepers will work in the apiary in their own time at weekends on a voluntary basis. Their rewards in kind will be “considerable.” As well as making a direct contribution to honey bee conservation, recognised as crucial for the long-term sustainability of both the natural ecosystem and human food production, the volunteers will have the satisfaction of being involved in making a second, even rarer product at the Home of Rolls‑ Royce.
Carter concludes by saying, “The Apiary means a great deal to us as a company and to our customers and followers around the world. The new volunteers will play a crucial part in its success this season, and we’re anticipating a great response to our recruitment drive.”