From volunteer to Our Bright Future Youth Ambassador to qualified beekeeping tutor, Rachel shares her experiences as part of the BEE You Project at Blackburne House.  
Blood rushed to my face and burnt under my cheeks. Every ounce of my energy I put into holding back the tears I felt building. Ten pairs of eyes staring expectantly at me, while I clutched their application forms in my clammy hands.
My name is Rachel and this was my first day delivering the BEE You project as a beekeeping tutor.
As the students sat behind their desks, my nerves really kicked in and I began to doubt my abilities. I looked over at Lynne, the BEE You Recruitment and Engagement Officer from Blackburne House; she had come to support me on my first day. Seeing her encouraging smile reminded me that, not only did I have her support, but she was also symbolic of the whole support network I had back at Blackburne House. I swallowed the lump in my throat and began my first lesson.
As the weeks progressed, so did I. I developed a bond with the students and they were a pleasure to teach; they were engaged and responded well to assigned tasks. One student defined the moment in which I felt justified that I was making a difference in my abilities as a teacher: Olivia. Olivia was unable to attend the last two sessions of the course, meaning she would be missing out on vital work to complete her Level 1 beekeeping qualification. She made the effort herself to catch up, by requesting further time and support from me; to complete the tasks for her evidence file.
Olivia completed the work, in time and to a very high standard, and I was able to submit her for the qualification.
When Olivia initially approached me and expressed her disappointment that she would be unable to attend the final two sessions of the course, it gave me a sense of validation; that I was delivering both knowledge and enjoyment to my class. Olivia’s willingness to ensure that she completed all the coursework resonated with me, providing the confidence boost I needed to reinforce my inner belief that I am growing on my journey to becoming the best beekeeping tutor I can be.
My journey to becoming a beekeeping tutor began with me enrolling on the BEE You project as student. My enthusiasm to educate myself further didn’t end there, as I wanted to pursue additional involvement with the BEE You project. Through discussions with the team at Blackburne House, I was to represent the project as a Youth Ambassador for the Our Bright Future Youth Forum. My first Youth Forum meeting in York stimulated me to establish the best route to take my passion for beekeeping forward and prompted me to enrol at Blackburne House on a Level 3 teaching and education qualification; which I completed successfully earlier this year. With both my beekeeping and teaching qualifications in hand, I was able to become a tutor on the BEE You project. I felt as though I was stepping forward, into a future of my dreams.
My next teaching endeavour for the BEE You project is delivering to learners with additional needs. I want to keep pushing myself both as a person and a teacher and, compared to the anxiety I exuded only weeks ago, reflects the growth of my inner confidence – now I’m #OwningIt.
Find out more about the BEE You project in Liverpool.