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Alison is buzzing about her return to college

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Entrepreneur Alison Wakeman – who uses colonies of bees to help educate young people about the importance of protecting the environment – was buzzing to be back at Telford College.

She studied shorthand typing at the college after leaving school in the 1980s, before setting off on a career journey which has taken her as far afield as the Swiss Alps.

Alison now runs Alison’s Bee Class, and was one of a number of local businesses with stands at the college’s Christmas Fayre.

She said: “I was silly at school, but I realised the importance of education afterwards.

“My main core business is education; I teach primary school children the importance of bees in the environment. I also do guest speaker work and we take bees with us from county shows to community events and we engage with people.”

“To finance this, we also have a merchandising stall, where we sell bee related merchandise. This includes pure Shropshire honey that was actually produced two miles away from the college in Hortonwood.

“We also sell beeswax food wraps, beeswax candles, traditional beeswax polish, leather balm, and lavender bags.”

Alison set up her current business around 10 years ago, and said she  loves being able to combine her hobby of beekeeping with her work.

“It really makes me feel happy when I get to spread awareness of bees in the environment.”

After Alison left Telford College, she signed up to work as part of the Youth Training Scheme, and was soon keen to go back into education.

She took an HNC in business and finance, followed by an NVQ level five in management studies, which then led her to Wolverhampton University, where she completed a NBA in business and admin.

Her next move was to Lausanne in Switzerland with her husband, who was responsible for maintaining mobile phone masts in the Swiss Alps.

“I got to travel around on cable cars, piste bashers – even helicopters – to visit the sites he looked after.”

Alison then applied for a job at Hotel Institute Montreux, a highly commended private school for hotel management.

“They were advertising in the Times Educational supplement for an English teacher. I applied purely for a bit of fun, to test the strength of my NBA outside of the UK. I didn’t get that job, but instead I was offered the role of Academic Dean for the whole school!”

“To be honest, I had no clue what an academic dean did! I walked into the office on day one, not having a clue what I was doing, to turning the school round in a space of two years.”