AS a little girl, while her friends would play with dolls and other small toys, Dian Cover enjoyed taking things apart and fitting them back together. So enamoured was she with discovering the various components and objects held together, that she didn't mind when her newly built contraptions would not work.
It was this love for tinkering that drove her to assist her father after high school as he transitioned into a job as an auto mechanic. Cover started out as any novice, holding this and passing that, but she would soon surpass her male counterparts because she was driven by something most of them weren't — passion.
"I often say that if you should cut me, you would find blood and engine oil in my veins. Motor vehicles are embedded in my DNA… I have always loved disassembling and reassembling the components. And I was always motivated by the satisfaction I would feel whenever customers would collect their vehicles knowing that the problem was solved and I was the one who fixed it," she said.
While being an automotive technician is not a career path many women would trod, Cover excelled at it. And, after working in her father's garage for seven years, she decided she wanted to make an impact on the industry by training others in the field.
Twenty years later she has seen that dream come to life, having instructed hundreds of students at institutions such as Dinthill Technical High School, Excelsior Community College and Tacius Golding High School, where she has been instrumental in the introduction of the school's automotive programme, as well as the HEART/NSTA Trust Jamaican-German Automotive School where she was the first female automotive instructor to be promoted to the role of senior instructor.
"I am very passionate about growth and development and as an instructor, I get great fulfilment in assisting students eager to learn and empower themselves through certification. It brings me great joy to take them through the programme and teach them about various components of motor vehicles and then see them pass their assessments and acquire their certificates," Cover said
As part of the JPS Foundation and IDB Lab's eDrive Train-the-Trainer programme, Cover received certification from the Institute of Motor Industry, the UK-based leading professional body for the automotive industry, in the fields of electric vehicle repair, maintenance and safety.
With her certification, Cover is the only female automotive technician among Jamaica's top 15 technicians and among the top 10 per cent in the world. Her ultimate goal for Jamaica's automotive industry is to have technicians with skills that are up to global standards.
"I want the best for the automotive industry. I want our Jamaican technicians to be on par with those in developed countries. Whatever problems a vehicle has I want Jamaican technicians to be able to fix them. I want to see people who are passionate about motor vehicles and motor vehicle repairs coming and getting certified," she said.
When recounting the evolution of the automotive industry she noted with pride how things have changed from the days when customers were suspicious of her ability to repair their vehicles, to the current atmosphere of acceptance and the trajectory where vehicles are now electric.
"Gone are the days when you could pull down a car with two spanners… the automotive industry has evolved rapidly and I'm so happy to see that so too has the mindset of our people. There are many more women coming into the auto industry and I'm glad that they are being more accepted and are not having as difficult a time as I did," she said.
Cover will be one of the trainers responsible for instructing 400 additional local talents in the area of electric mobility.
The JPS Foundation/ IDB Lab's eDrive project is one of several initiatives being put in place to ensure that Jamaica is ready for the fusion of energy and transportation. The primary objective of the project is to build a sustainable, electric mobility industry.
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