Deafness: Not a handicap for Ingrid Bergman

Automotive-sector | Career at thyssenkrupp | People at thyssenkrupp | Ingrid Bergman is a fan of all things technical, good with her hands – and deaf. But that’s no reason for the 31-year-old not to live out her dream: Ingrid Bergman completed an apprenticeship as an industrial mechanic and joined the thyssenkrupp System Engineering team in Mühlacker in October.

“Ingrid has always been very interested in technical things,” says her mother Marianna. “Even as a child she was always tinkering with motorbikes and cars.” Good attributes for a career in industry. The handicap of being born deaf is a challenge Ingrid has always faced up to with determination and has never let it stop her. “My daughter has a strong personality,” says Marianna Bergman, not without pride. Even though she didn’t always have it easy as a child because of her handicap, “she never let it get her down and was quite capable of holding her own.”

A strong personality

Ingrid completed her apprenticeship as an industrial mechanic just over a year ago. Her applications attracted the attention of a handful of companies, but none of them seemed quite right. Until thyssenkrupp System Engineering in Mühlacker got in touch, that is. Ingrid was keen from the outset. The production facility for electric vehicle body platforms aroused her interest and she accepted the interview invitation without hesitation.

Katharina Knorr from the HR department at thyssenkrupp System Engineering recalls: “All in all, before the invitation we didn’t know what exactly to expect and how we would communicate” – surprisingly well as it turned out. “We established during our interview that she can follow the conversation well if you speak slowly, clearly and directly to her. When we got stuck, her mother helped by translating.”

Ingrid Bergman impressed during her interview

Ingrid left a lasting impression. Katharina Knorr: “When we met we were particularly impressed by her motivation, bright eyes, positive energy and the joy in her face at our interview invitation and when she first saw our production shop.” As Ingrid had not yet gained any practical experience in such a highly automated working environment at that time, she first completed a four-week internship so she could get to know her new working environment. It quickly became clear to the 31-year-old that the job was exactly right for her. And the technical and HR departments agreed, offering her a permanent employment contract. “Ms. Bergman has completed her apprenticeship as an industrial mechanic and at thyssenkrupp we value and respect each other and believe all applicants should enjoy equal opportunities. We have recruited a highly motivated employee for our production operations,” says Katharina Knorr happily on behalf of the entire company.

With his many years of experience and dedication, Udo Petrack – representative for disabled employees – played an important role, contributing a great deal to the recruitment process, preparing the production unit and raising awareness.

Successful start

Marianna Bergman accompanied her daughter for the first two days as an interpreter to deal with any possible difficulties in communication, but everything went more smoothly than expected. “To begin with every team member had to get to know Ms. Bergman for themselves and be resourceful, open and creative in finding the right way to communicate,” says Katharina Knorr, looking back at the interesting familiarization process. At the start people sometimes also communicated with their hands or in writing. “In the meantime everyone communicates really well and has worked out how to get along,” says a delighted Katharina Knorr.

“At first everyone thought I couldn’t speak,” says Ingrid. “But I explained that, even though I’m deaf, I can speak.” And as her mother Mama Marianna adds with a grin: “She spoke a lot!” Her parents’ decision not to use sign language during her upbringing once again proved right.

Ingrid has now settled down in her new job and it still feels good. “I get on well with everyone and feel really comfortable,” she says. “It feels like my second home.”

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