“When someone is going to say if you are academically challenged there is always technical education, that is an insult, because some of the people who claim to be academics can’t even read a technical book, so academic and technical education must go hand in hand.”
By Sharmain Grainger
There exists the notion that there are two sets of people, some who are doers and others who can easily fall into the category of thinkers. However, Andy Moore, a master of all things technical, is undoubtedly both a doer and a thinker. You see, whatever the mind of this technical genius can conceive, his hands are swift to bring them to reality, and they are by no means useless.
With skills ranging from automotive and mechanical engineering to welding and fabrication, Moore has been able to impress many over the years. He even has an uncanny flair for wood craft, garment construction, baking and cake decoration too.
Moore has been doing all this for years and has no plans to retire his exceptional skills anytime soon.
BORN FOR THIS
He has no doubt that he was born to be a technically-oriented man, after all he was born to like-minded parents.
The eldest of six, Moore was born on September 13, 1949 and raised at Betsy Ground, Canje, Berbice. His father, Daniel Moore, worked at the Sugar Factory, but also had a small workshop from which he churned out many technical pieces of work. His mother, Enid, was a seamstress.
“I couldn’t avoid being technical, I had to be making something,” noted Moore as he recalled playing assistant to both parents. As a smile formed on his face, he recalled vividly that assisting his mother was always more lucrative. “My mother used to pay, but the old man never did, so I learnt to sew and do cake decoration at an early age.”
But he had an ingrained knack for designing and building things with his bare hands. And they were always good enough to gain unprecedented attention. It was no surprise that he would delve into the technical aspects of things at school. His teachers certainly took careful note. Even while at primary level school he was naturally skilled to make enviable toys for himself, and so much more, that saw him claiming quite a few prizes.
“My first encounter with winning things in technical education, apart from the little things I built, was when I built the small gardening tools for my school’s exhibition,” Moore recalled.
His teachers were at first convinced that little Andy Moore had gotten help from his father. This was dispelled when his father was invited to the school and was astounded to see the level of work produced by his young son. In fact, he finally understood why his tools were becoming dull and why the foil atop of the milk tins in the kitchen kept disappearing, much to his wife’s dismay.
There was no stopping the young Moore from thereon. He independently completed a number of technical projects, among them model airplanes.
Moore attended St Patrick’s Anglican School, now the Rose Hall Secondary School, and then moved on to the Victoria High School in New Amsterdam.
At the age of 17 he was accepted at Teachers Training College where he again opted to embrace his technical side, although he was well qualified for academic training.
“That decision has served me well to this day,” Moore reflected during an interview, as he recalled that upon his entry to Teachers’ College he was already more skilled than most pursuing Technical Education. Moreover, it was no surprise that at the end of his three years of training he won four out of seven prizes that were up for grabs for his outstanding performances in a class of 33. The prizes he secured were for Metalwork, Woodwork, Technology and Welding.
But according to Moore, never again has so many persons opted for technical education training at the level of the Teachers Training College.
“We are training nine and 10 teachers at the Training College these days,” related Moore, as he shared his belief that the quality of some trained teachers today is wanting.
It is for this reason Moore has over the years concluded that moves should be made to do away with the idea that technical education should only be introduced if a child does not do well academically.
“You can’t wait for youths to turn 17 and 18 to start technical school and expect the best results. I started early and I did well, so I know from experience that starting early works well for an individual,” Moore assured.
His first appointment as a Technical teacher was at the Kingston Industrial Arts Centre, where he had special responsibilities to introduce metalwork as an addition to woodwork which was previously the chief technical area.
But even as he delivered his lessons, Moore had other plans to keep himself busy.
It wasn’t long after graduating from Training College that he established his own workshop in Festival City where he took up residence.
The workshop, which he named ‘Anidan Engineering’, has moved from being a mere craft shop, to a automotive garage. He has since expanded to another building, offering other technical services such as the design and construction of incinerators for hospital waste, tools for just about any trade, stoves, water filtration systems, wood craft: including lamps and glass rests, and currently he is adding the final touches to a mechanism to aid drainage works.
Moore is also on the verge of completing a full-fledged coconut factory. He hopes to employ about six persons to help him produce coconut products such as sugar cake, charcoal, jewellery, fibres, oil, and whatever else his mind conceives.
A single glance around his workshops reveals evidence of many projects he has created over the years from salon chairs, complete with gliding capabilities, to cutting and shredding machines.
Although his technical work is aimed at satisfying a passion more than making a profit, Moore revealed that “I was able to make more money working part-time in my shop than as a full-time teacher.”
He has not been selfish with his knowledge, and has imparted same to many youths who have also gone on to do well in the technical arena. According to Moore, more than 90 youths have passed through his workshop alone, many of whom were previously viewed as hopeless to society.
“I remember this particular youth who was in a group that came to my shop who I taught to make a trowel…before we started I asked if any of them could do it and they said no, so when they learnt to do it, they were so excited. The one youth said he wanted to take the trowel home to show his mother because he couldn’t believe he could make anything, and he needed to show his mother….His mother of course couldn’t believe it too, so she came and asked if he’d really made it,” Moore recalled.
According to Moore, “one of my satisfactions is to watch people achieve something. When you see somebody smile when they are doing a job, you know they have achieved. When I teach youngsters ‘it’s not for the money’, because technical work is very, very expensive, it is mainly because I want to give back to society.”
Moore is convinced that if more youths of today would be allowed to dedicate themselves to developing technical skills, the prison system would be less overwhelmed. He believes in the notion that “Ignorance breeds fear, and the fear breeds violence, whether it is verbal or social or whatever that violence is perpetrated on our children.”
Speaking strongly against those who see technical education as a field for only those who are academically challenged, Moore firmly insisted “that is verbal abuse.”
“When someone is going to say if you are academically challenged there is always technical education, that is an insult, because some of the people who claim to be academics can’t even read a technical book, so academic and technical education must go hand in hand,” Moore emphatically asserted.
He added, “If we don’t change the system, if we don’t put things in place so that there will be natural movement, we will continue to have that thinking.”
Against this background, Moore sees the need for a technical college which draws youths from the school system not only to start technical training, but to advance what they would have already been taught. With such a facility in place, he believes that the education system will truly be able to realise competency-based training which essentially will make youths marketable not only in Guyana but abroad.
“We have to design programmes that will encourage people from a young age to move into productive technical areas,” Moore stressed, as he observed that while theory is important, it certainly cannot stand alone.
He recalled that in order for him to become a master at what he does, he had to ensure that whatever he learnt in theory was utilised in a practical way.
Trained both locally and overseas, Moore is the holder of multiple certificates and degrees, including a Master of Arts degree in Vocational Education from the University of Alabama, to back his skills.
“I am one of the few people who trained overseas during my time who came back. Quite a few of my colleagues didn’t come back, because we had non-collateral scholarships,” Moore recalled.
Although he hopes to continue to unleash his technical mastery in years to come, Moore said he is also optimistic that one day he will be able to take on an even greater project that can help to considerably advance nation-building.
However, when this father of six is not busy envisaging, designing and bringing to life projects, he takes time out to practice his judo, which he taught for a while, and at times too, he also indulges in some hunting activities which he has listed among his favourite pastimes.
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