Aug 21, 2017 News
– laud institution’s contribution to bauxite industry, community
By Enid Joaquin
The Linden Technical Institute(LTI) which will be celebrating its sixtieth anniversary in 2018, recently became the proud recipients of much need tools, sporting equipment, books and a projector, thanks to the benevolence of former students.
The old students ,who represented the fifteenth and twenty third intakes, were high in praise of their alma mater and pledged that giving back would be an ongoing process.
The initiative was part of their reunion activities, which included a dinner, dance, ‘meet and greet’ and a fun-day.
Many took advantage of the occasion to reflect on “the good ole days” and get dressed up in their apprentice and office messenger uniforms.
Before making the presentations, a few participants reminisced on their experiences, both during and after their tenure at the LTI.
Sammy David, who resides in New York, said that he, along with eight others, had made the trip to give back to their old school, and reconnect with former batch mates.
David spoke at length of how the institution made a positive impact on their lives.
“Presently, the New York City Transit is actually managed by former students of the Demba Trade School. You would be surprised to know that the transit system is run by members of our own Linden community who would have been trained at this institution…..it impacted our lives so much….it is responsible for who we are today.”David ,who entered the trade school in 1972 as an office messenger, said he majored in mechanical engineering – heavy duty mechanics, five years later.
“The trade school laid the foundation for everything that we have accomplished today. So we’re so happy to be back here, to give back to this place that has given us so much; afforded us so many opportunities.”
David added that he loves the fact that the school has transitioned to a community school ,because it was initially more like a company school, where persons were more or less trained to be absorbed within the bauxite industry. The focus was more on skills in the mechanical, electrical and automotive fields.
“ It’s good to know that now a young lady could come here and learn sewing, carpentry and so many other skills, that would equip her to contribute meaningfully to the community,” David posited.
Nine of the old students who currently reside overseas, made the trip back home for the event.
Their local counterparts were of course not to be outdone. Jocelyn Morian, who presently works as a General Maintenance Supervisor with Bauxite Company of Guyana, said that they (the 23rd intake)had already planned to give back to the school even before they learnt that students from another batch from the diaspora, had the same plans.
Morian reminisced on the old days.
“I was encouraged to enroll at the trade school by my Industrial Arts teacher, Robert Syfox. The year was 1979 and the entrance test and interviews were held the same day at Kwakwani.
“I can clearly recall those days doing the preliminary trade course and being an office messenger in my short pants, during the first year.
I stayed at an aunt in Linden for the entire six years of my apprenticeship.”
Morian noted that one of the things that motivated him to successfully complete the programme, was the reintroduction of open air graduations and seeing females graduating as electricians, mechanics and draughtsmen.
He said that he took his studies very seriously and later became a fitter/machinist; a field where precision is everything.
Two of his instructors were Aubrey Richards and Thomas Gittens, whom he described as his mentors.
“They prepared me for life.”
After graduating, Morian said he began working in Kwakwani, where he was afforded the opportunity of sharing his knowledge while employed with the Bermine Bauxite operations.
Lorraine Inniss, who currently lectures at LTI, was the lone female to graduate from her batch back in the year 1985. Inniss had enrolled with the twenty third batch in 1979.
Inniss reflected that she began working as a welder with Guymine and later Linmine until 1998.
“I then started as a volunteer at LTI in 2000,then began lecturing in 2001.”
She is still functioning in that capacity today.
Inniss says that she has been responsible for teaching more than six hundred students the art of welding, over the years.
She however admits that these daysit is much harder, as students are not as focused, given the many distractions.
“So we have to work on getting them to focus first, before we even start working on the trade.”
For females with aspirations in non traditional sectors, Inniss had this to say, “I would encourage them to select the particular course of study, approach it with positivity, and give it their best.”
As to whether she would make the same career choice given the chance, she quipped,
“ I surely would walk right back in my foot print!”
Since its establishment in May 1958, the Linden Technical Institute, formerly the Demba Trade School, has remained one of those fixtures of the landscape of Mackenzie.
The institution, over the years, went through a number of name changes, until it was taken over by the Ministry of Education in 1996, when it was renamed the Linden Technical Institute (LTI).
Before this, the school was managed by Demba, Guybau, Guymine and Linmine (the same company despite the name changes) and trained students exclusively for the bauxite company.
As such, emphasis was mainly on the mechanical/electrical engineering and automotive skills training of apprentices that the company needed.
Later, a programme called instrumentation, and carpentry and joinery were added to the skills training that could be accessed at the Institute.
With the takeover by the Ministry, the curriculum became more broad-based. There was the introduction of business related subjects including computer science, telecommunications, EDPM, and radio and electronics servicing.
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