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Future Career in the Technical Domain.

While Nidya Yilmaz was studying politics, she started a holiday job in the production field at Mercedes-Benz. However, Nidya, now 22 years old, noticed during her time there, how fascinating the production facilities are and soon began her vocational training as a mechatronic engineer in the Mercedes-Benz Bremen plant. She is now even winning over female pupils to a STEM career. In her interview, Nidya talks to us about what took her by surprise during her training and the stations she has passed through so far.

Hi Nidya! You are in the second year of training to become a mechatronic engineer at the Mercedes-Benz Bremen plant. What made you choose this technical vocational training?

A friend from school, who had already started her vocational training, enthusiastically told me all about it. During a holiday job in chassis assembly in the Mercedes-Benz Bremen plant, I gained insights into a mechatronic engineer`s job thanks to my contact with system operators. That was extremely interesting, in particular the robotics. From then on, I wanted a future career in the technical domain. Many people think that the job is physically very strenuous, but actually, a great deal of brainwork is involved. Maths and physics were some of my best subjects in school, something, which is a big help to me here.

In addition to mechanical skills, Nidya also learns a functional understanding of complex systems in the training workshop.
In addition to mechanical skills, Nidya also learns a functional understanding of complex systems in the training workshop.

Were you always interested in machines?

No. After graduating from high school, I initially studied political science, as I am very interested in politics and history. My interest in things technology-related really just began during the holiday job. In 2021, I dropped out of my course to begin training as a mechatronic engineer instead.

What have you enjoyed most about the vocational training so far?

That was the three weeks I spent in Production, more precisely in the Bodyshop where sidewalls are produced for the C-Class body. There, alongside a system operator, I got to know specific activities that are important for working with the robots in the systems. These robots transport sidewalls, for example for the bonding or welding processes. If an irregularity occurs, it must be eliminated so that a smooth process is ensured in Production. For example, maintenance and checks as to whether the torque of a gripper is correct are also part of this work. This period was one of the highlights for me.

Is there anything that has taken you by surprise with regard to the training content?

I had not realised that 3D printing was part of the training of a mechatronic engineer and also certain metal-machining methods that I was not familiar with at all. I was also positively surprised by the fact that we were later also able to use the PLC (programmable logic controller) to control what we produced ourselves in the lathing and milling courses.

What was the start of training like for you?

The first weeks were great! Together with the trainees from other occupational groups, such as the electronic engineers and social insurance administrators, we had a weeklong development workshop for team building purposes. I did not know anyone when I started. This was the perfect start for me as we all got on well together, and no one felt left on their own. The cycling and canoe tours and trips that we took together made getting to know each other and growing together a little bit easier. Today in my training group, there is no one on their own. We all support each other.

Nidya Yilmaz can already carry out maintenance and service work on control units of production plants independently.
Nidya Yilmaz can already carry out maintenance and service work on control units of production plants independently.

What stations have you passed through since then?

The training started with a two-month basic course on the topic 'metal technology in the training workshop'. There I got to know all about centre-punching, filing, sawing and much more. Our group was divided after that. I learned about automated processes such as milling and lathing, attended a pneumatics course and learned in the building installation course how to connect a lamp and install a socket. There is also the vocational training college that we attend every third week. There we learn the theory behind our practical tasks as well as programming languages and how to deal with current circuits, for example. After the Bodyshop specialist unit, my next stop now is the customer centre.

What is a mechatronic engineer`s task in the customer centre?

The deployments in the specialist units are all about getting to know the different facets of Mercedes-Benz. I am sure I will still be learning about the technology of vehicles in the customer centre. At the same time, customer contact will be a completely new experience for me. We are exposed to different application fields and get an impression of what our future job may look like. After my training, I could also decide to become a foreperson or start a technical course. At the moment, I am sure that I would like to have a future career in what I am doing now.

What is good teamwork in your opinion?

Reliability is very important. Both when it comes to doing the legwork for each other and together achieving good results as well as being there for each other, if something does not work out. You have to be able to rely on each other. This ensures good mutual trust, something, which is very important to me.

How do you experience Mercedes-Benz as an employer?

I wake up in the morning and look forward to my work. For me, Mercedes-Benz is a very good employer that won me over even during my holiday job. Everything is very informal with my trainee group as well as with the forepersons and training supervisors. At the same time, I appreciate the opportunities that Mercedes-Benz is offering me and that I am very well supported.

Keyword: Advancement of women: You have appeared at trade fairs and schools for Mercedes-Benz to help win over others to a traineeship. Do you see yourself as an ambassador for STEM careers?

I do, because as a woman I directly address the female target group. For example, I was recently at a fair where I said that I was initially worried about choosing a technical career, as I thought I would physically not be able to do it. But I work much more with my head than with my body. When I asked my audience at the end, whether what I said made a difference, a girl came to me and said: 'That all sounded really exciting, I am now interested in this area. I always thought that the career would be very physically demanding.' I am delighted to be able to win over girls to a STEM career. I notice that there is a big difference between how people imagine such careers and how the job actually is like in reality. The profession of a mechatronic engineer is still dominated by men, but the number of women is constantly increasing. This is great!

Nidya's most important role model is her father, who is a qualified motor vehicle mechanic and has worked at Mercedes-Benz for over 35 years. Over the years, he has been involved in start-ups worldwide related to the topics of trim and chassis for several model series in Production. When the shift schedule allows it, they travel to work together from Bremen-Borgfeld to the Bremen plant, as they live only five minutes away from each other. Nidya Yilmaz (22), whose first name means 'the one who is gracious' in Indonesian, got her name due to a deployment of her father in Indonesia. In addition to English, she can also read in Arabic and has been learning Turkish for two years. When she began her language course, she did not know that she would meet her now-husband during a holiday job in the Bremen plant, who also speaks Turkish. To her great delight, her foreperson drove her to her wedding in an S-Class. When she is not planning her next trip to Indonesia or meeting up with family and friends, she loves playing football.