Linden Technical Institute a legacy of imparting knowledge, life experiences, discipline – celebrates 60th anniversary
DPI, Guyana, Saturday, June 02, 2018
Linden’s premier tertiary institution, the Linden Technical Institute is in existence for sixty years and this diamond jubilee was celebrated with several activities, which began in April with a two-day staff development session on team building and an exhibition which showcased the institution in a significant way.
The last week of May, however, saw the climax of activities with a prayer breakfast on May 28 and on May 29, the institution held its official 60th-anniversary ceremony. The event had a grand turnout from past and present students, lecturers, staff members, Board of Directors, government and regional officials and major stakeholders within the TVET arena.
The ceremony’s theme, ‘Providing wealth through the acquisition of skills,’ featured reflections on the growth of the institution from a 12 intake apprentice school in 1958 which garnered skills needed in the then bauxite company DEMBA, to an all rounded tertiary institution creating great minds that would have contributed positively to not only the development of Linden but also Guyana.
Visions of what enabled the school to celebrate 100 years of existence were also discussed. Students stunned the crowd with their talent and cultural pieces which also highlighted that LTI is more than acquiring technical skills.
Principal (ag) Ms Shurla Brotherson said that throughout the 60 years, the institution experienced a number of managerial and operational changes, which were in sync with the changes of the bauxite industry since it was manned by the various companies. The name DEMBA Training Centre was replaced in the 1970’s with Guymine Technical Training Complex, later to the Linmine Technical Training Complex, thereafter to BIDCO Technical Training Complex and in 1996 when it was transferred from the bauxite company to the Ministry of Education; it was changed to the Linden Technical Institute. Brotherson noted that the mission of the institution remained the same – to train and mould the minds of Guyana’s future workers. “We are thankful for the legacy that we have inherited and promise to leave an even richer one for the generations to come,” she said.
Mayor of Linden Waneka Arindell reminded the students that in this technological era, the pursuit of a technical skill will serve as more than an asset and therefore the students have a better opportunity to utilise their skills for the advancement of the country. “Linden Technical Institute is where the world is going, these skills are what you need to advance, I want to encourage you, students, to dedicate your time,” she said while promising any needed support from the Linden Mayor and Town Council.
Providing a foresight of what is required for the school to move forward was former Chairman of the LTI Board and Guymine’s Training Manager, Mr Gordon Gomes. He encouraged the lecturers to not only focus on furnishing the students with skills needed for the bauxite industry such as becoming a machinist, welder, mechanic, carpenter or joiner. But to also equip them with employable skills such as discipline, work ethics, the importance of punctuality, developing interpersonal and communication skills, as well as the knack to problem solve and reason. He encouraged the lecturers to conduct more field trips, visit more industries and to engage successful past students in returning to the institution to work with the students. More emphasis he said should also be placed on workshops. “We need to have a culture to promote this institution not as a school but as a post-secondary educational institution; more of a bridge between trainee status and university,” he posited. Over the 60 years, Gomes said that LTI had trained students who have taken those skills around the world. “I have been fortunate to see graduates from this institution in all parts of this country, I have seen them in other countries, in the Caribbean and North America, so we have provided skills for the country and for the world and during the last 60 years, we must congratulate ourselves.”
Reflecting on their stint at the institution were students from the very first batch in 1958, and the 15th, 22nd and 23rd; as well as former staff members and others. Seventy-five-year-old Mr Desmond Bacchus was one of the first 12 apprentices of the first batch and boasted in his speech of being a trailblazer. “I am glad that I was able to blaze the trail for you students. It wasn’t easy going, we just had two lecturers that took us through the programme, nevertheless we got through,” he reminisced. Bacchus encouraged the students to love what they do and to pursue more than one trade in the event one doesn’t work out.
Member of Parliament Jermaine Figueira reflected on the two years he spent at the institution in an effort to learn a trade. Words are inadequate, he said, to describe how profoundly LTI would have moulded him into the person he is today. “Of my two years’ experience at this prestigious institution, it imparted knowledge, real-life experiences, discipline and long life friendships which were indeed a privilege.”
The 22nd batch donated a concrete pathway to the school which was also commissioned at the ceremony. Other activities to mark the 60th anniversary included a march, cook-out and games day, talent festival, mounting of a billboard and the repainting and upgrading of the Institution.
By Vanessa Braithwaite
Images by Vanessa Braithwaite