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Makers of men

The men of Telco helped to raise up the next generation of skilled technicians

During the 1980s the former Bermuda Telephone Company, now BTC/Digicel, had an apprenticeship programme during the summer for high school and college-aged students.The students would be assigned to various departments between the months of May and September. Among others, these departments included cable installation/maintenance, residential installations, residential troubleshooting, business installation/maintenance, and inside plant and special services.

Each student or “summer casual”, was assigned to stations throughout the island. At each station, they were attached to a senior technician or group of technicians, depending on the tasks at hand. Under these technicians, the young apprentices learnt some of the following skills: maintaining underground cables, installing station wire, proper use of tools, handling ladders at heights, tracing faults.


As importantly, the rudiments of timekeeping, teamwork, analytical skills and interacting with clients became part of the daily regimen for each of the summer casuals.There occasionally may have been the "University of Euchre" taking place during lunchtime, of course.

Many young Bermudian men got to interact with older, seasoned men. This allowed them to learn other interpersonal skills such as verbal debating, social interactions and visiting diverse parts of our community during these informal rites of passage. While some went on to other careers, many became the next generation of skilled technicians, supervisors and managers at Telco.

Wherever we ended up, there are bonds in the Telco family that hold true to this day.

We would like to thank all those who imparted their knowledge to those of us who were known officially as summer casuals — and unofficially as “summer casualties”. Here are but some of those who took us under their wings: Vincent Dyer, Francis Furbert, Wilton Smith, Elaine Burgess, Sherwin Dill, Victor Fishington, Louis Leverock, Alan “Trees” Joell, Charles Butterfield, Robin “Rambo” Steede, Parks Dill, Gino Phipps, Craig Woods, Terrance “Wop” Masters, the late Coleman “Cy” Simons, Michael Cox and Arthur Wade.

I can’t remember our hourly rates at the time; however, we could never repay them for all the priceless lessons that they gave — not only to us, but to Bermudians as a whole.

To this day, some 40 years later, they are still constantly giving out guidance to all who were under their watch. Indeed, they are pillars of our society who made many of us the men that we are today.

We thank them.

• Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail at carib_pro@yahoo.com

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Published March 17, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated March 16, 2023 at 7:36 pm)

Makers of men

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