Tamas Harta Overview Research & Development Organization, Law & Communication IT & Telecommunications Supply Chain Management Production Procurement Finance & Controlling Corporate planning/strategy Marketing & Sales

"I want to bring out the best of myself that I'm capable of".

Tamas Harta moved from Hungary to Germany in 2015 to start a new career. The 28-year-old has been severely hearing impaired since birth. His disability was no more of a hindrance to his training as a mechatronics technician at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen than it is for his position as a technician at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Düsseldorf. In his interview, the mechatronics technician with a passion for technology explains what working with hearing people is like, what his biggest challenges are and why eye contact is so important.

Tamas, you have been working in body-in-white production at the Mercedes-Benz Vans plant in Düsseldorf for a few months now. What do you do specifically?

I take care of the right side wall of the vans. Our team loads the appropriate parts from the Press Shop for body-in-white production and checks them for any damage.

How can we picture your team?

The production team is large and made up of system operators and technicians. We have several stations: The inner part of the side wall is produced at one of them, the panelling at another. These parts are then assembled before moving on to the outer parts. For me, it is always fascinating to see how the different parts come together to form a complete entity with the help of robots!

What is important for you when working with others?

I don't really expect it, but for me as someone who is hearing impaired, it's easier if the person I'm talking to makes eye contact first, before they start speaking; this is because I have to lip-read. If the other person starts to speak immediately, then I might have missed a part of it. For me, clear articulation and a slower tempo of speech are also important.

Tamas contributes to the fact that the body of the vans is flawlessly manufactured every day - side by side with robots.

Was your hearing difficulty an issue during your training at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen?

My colleagues and also the supervisors were great; they showed me a lot of understanding when I started my apprenticeship in 2019. If I didn't understand something, they just repeated it. This became more difficult when the COVID-19 pandemic made masks compulsory. At that point, I couldn't read anyone's lips or really understand what was being said. Everyone had to wear a mask during team meetings. But I also overcame this hurdle well. For example, a colleague always summarized everything for me until the mask requirement ended.

Have you always been keen on technology?

Yes, I've always had an interest in computers and machines. That's why I decided to train as a mechatronics technician. Robotics is incredibly exciting. What today's technology is capable of is amazing – and the systems are built and programmed in such a way that we can operate them easily. You can do pretty much anything with robots: Welding, riveting, fastening screws – just about everything you need to put a car together.

Have you encountered any specific challenges in your job so far?

The training was challenging at times because German is not my native language and because I had two small children at home, who needed my attention. My colleagues helped me by correcting me and giving me tips. Luckily, I'm a quick learner. I even managed to complete my training with the grade "very good" – something that would not have been possible without the support of my wife. This success has motivated me to pursue further training because it has shown me that there's more that I can achieve.

"I managed to complete my training with the grade "very good" - this would not have been possible without the support of my wife. This motivates me to continue my education, because it has shown me that I can do even more!"

How come, you are now working for Mercedes-Benz Vans in Düsseldorf?

My wife and I had been thinking about making this move for a while. Our youngest daughter is also hearing impaired. Here in the Düsseldorf area, there are better schools and more programmes for deaf people than around Stuttgart. My wife, who like me is hearing impaired, comes from Lithuania, I'm from Hungary, and our families each live in our respective home countries. There are better transport links to both of these countries from Düsseldorf. We don't have any regrets so far. Düsseldorf is a really nice city.

Have you set yourself any professional goals?

I could also see myself doing further training as a technician. But my next step would be to find a job as a system operator, maintenance technician, or in equipment construction. I'm particularly interested in equipment construction. I like the idea of building something new. Basically, I want to bring out the best of myself that I'm capable of (smiles).

What do you like about Mercedes-Benz as an employer?

First of all, I am very grateful that Mercedes-Benz gave me an opportunity. The fact that I, as someone who moved here from Hungary only a few years ago, am able to work there makes me feel great! A lot of people have no idea what it's like to be deaf or blind or to be in a wheelchair. The world of work can be very difficult for people with disabilities. With Mercedes-Benz as an employer, people like me have more opportunities. There are always new challenges here, and you keep developing yourself further.

And our last question: If you could have a robot to help you with certain tasks in your free time, what would this robot need to be capable of?

It would have to be able to follow my children around and clean up their mess (laughs).

Without a hearing aid, Tamas Harta (28) hears almost nothing. His hearing impairment is hereditary. His wife, who he met on an EU exchange programme, is also hard of hearing, but both cope very well in their adopted home town of Düsseldorf. The father of two daughters, 3 and 1.5 years old, played football for the Hungarian deaf team before his career was ended by a series of injuries. These days, he keeps fit by cycling or hiking and enjoys exploring his new home town of Düsseldorf and the surrounding area with his family. The wildlife park is their preferred destination at the moment. As a brand, Mercedes-Benz has always appealed to the native Hungarian for three reasons: Design, AMG and Formula 1. When he is not being active outdoors, he enjoys watching basketball with his wife because the sport is very popular in Lithuania, where his wife is from, says Tamas.