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Case Study Job history of a metalworker at Mercedes


Mercedes-Benz Group AG produces passenger cars and commercial vehicles or vans with its employees.

Disability and impairment of the adolescent:

The adolescent contracted meningitis (meningitis) as a one-year-old child and has been deaf since then. He is unable to perceive auditory information, such as spoken language and signals. Due to his disability, audible information must therefore be modified so that the young person can perceive it visually or tactilely. Communication with him is possible via sign language or lip reading. In order for the young person to be able to read the lips of the person taking part in the conversation, the person must turn towards him or her and not speak too quickly.

Transition from school to vocational training:

The young person obtained his secondary school leaving certificate at a school with a special focus on hearing and communication. Through existing contacts between the school and the company's representative for the severely disabled, the then student was given the opportunity to complete a company internship. After three successful internships, he initially applied in writing for a training position with the company. Based on the application and the good experiences during the internships, the company invited the young person for an interview. With the help of a sign language interpreter, who was included by the representative of the severely disabled, the interview went off without a hitch. At the end of the application process, the young person was offered a training position as a metal worker.

Training and job:

The young person learned the theoretical content during vocational training at a special vocational college for people with hearing impairments. During the block teaching phases, which lasted several weeks, he was accommodated in the vocational college's boarding school because the distance between his home and the vocational college was too great for daily commuting. The practical part of the vocational training took place in the training company or at the company. In the training area (training workshop) and in the various departments of the company, the young person learned about different manufacturing processes (drilling, turning, milling, welding, etc.) and production processes (assembly, repair, quality assurance, plant operation, etc.). Thanks to his quick visual comprehension, it was easy for him to understand and implement the work processes and facts shown or seen.
The theoretical part of the final examination was held at the vocational college, as trained teaching staff and appropriate people with sign language skills were available there. In addition, the exam texts were translated into a language understandable to people with hearing impairment - while retaining the content of the exam - in order to compensate for the effects of deafness in the area of language comprehension. This is usually necessary because people with deafness have difficulties with the usual purely linguistic formulation of texts or examination tasks. The practical part of the final examination, on the other hand, took place in the training area of the company. Here, too, a sign language interpreter was present to translate the statements of the examination supervisor and the trainee's questions. The young person successfully completed his vocational training and was taken on by the company as a permanent employee.

Work organization:

A sign language interpreter was available once a week in case of communication difficulties and especially for instructions in the vocational training area (safety instructions, group discussions, etc.). The induction at the future workplace or in the work group also took place with the help of a sign language interpreter. In order to avoid misunderstandings in advance, the work group was prepared for possible difficulties by the representative of the severely disabled and the sign language interpreter.

Workplace and work task:

The metal worker is employed as an assembler in shift work on a section of the company's cycle-bound assembly line. In his area of operation, the metalworker often works together with another deaf employee. Communication between them takes place via sign language. The communication with the other hearing colleagues and superior people is done by spoken language or lip reading, gestures or short written texts. In the event of a malfunction or emergency, the metalworker is alerted to it either by light signals or colleagues.

Assistive products used:

Further Information

and participation:
The company received subsidies from the Employment Agency towards training allowances. The employment agency additionally subsidized the costs for the boarding school and also bore the travel costs during the vocational training so that the young person could attend the block instruction at the vocational college for people with hearing impairments. The increased costs for the final examination and examination fees were covered by the Integration and Inclusion Office. The Integration and Inclusion Office also supported and supports the use of sign language interpreters.

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Reference Number:


Last Update: 25 Jul 2023