BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
A Long Island City watch maker is putting time on the side of local teens.
Terry Irby, technical director at the watch retailer Tourneau, started a free, eight-week watch making internship for at-risk teens last March. Last Thursday, the program recognized its third graduating class during a ceremony at the Tourneau Long Island City facility.
Internship participants are all students at Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day High School, and before being accepted must complete two rounds of interviews and a sample dexterity test. Irby prefers to keep the program small, with eight to 10 participants.
“I like to provide a lot of personal training and attention to the students,” Irby said.
Thursday’s graduating class of seven had three women, the most in its short history.
Above all, Irby seeks students who “show an interest and desire to participate in something new.”
Jamaica resident Ayushi Pant said she applied for the internship because she likes “taking things apart and putting them back, how everything works with the machines.” Pant represented Queens alongside Frank Kwarteng of Corona at the graduation ceremony.
While some graduates go on to work at Tourneau as interns or employees, Irby believes the real benefit of his internship extends outside of the watch shop.
“They’re learning how to put their life in more of an order, how to stop and concentrate and focus on whatever subject that they’re trying to accomplish,” he said. “The watches can be applied to a way of life.”
“I learned a lot from this class, not only about the watch but also how you need to be patient about doing the work,” Pant said.
“The tools that we use to build watches are really small, and if you lost one, then the whole watch is not working,” she added. “It makes me realize that each and every part is important, and it is connected with life – how to solve problems.”
Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JNStrawbridge.