Exchanging sunny days at the beach and the broad landscape of Western Australia with the vineyards in Stuttgart, the INspire – the Leaders’ Lab top talent program has brought Richard Frampton a long way from home. In his interview, the 23-year-old engineer talks about his decision to apply for Daimler and how he experiences our work culture. He also tells us his favorite German word.
Hey there! Please introduce yourself.
Hello! My name is Richard Frampton, I am 23 years old and originally from Perth, Australia. I studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Western Australia, and I joined Daimler through the talent program “INspire – the Leaders’ Lab” five months ago. Currently, I am working at my first assignment in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim for the Daimler Trucks Global Powertrain division.
Tell us a little bit more about your current assignment!
I am helping to develop a new organizational structure for my department here in the Powertrain division. We are planning to implement the new structure in the near future, so I am also involved in supporting the change management of this process. The project gives me many opportunities to work together with different staff and team leaders around the department, and I work closely with department and division managers. Everybody here has been very open and supportive, and I feel like I am learning a lot.
How did you come across INspire – the Leaders’ Lab? And why did you want to join Daimler?
It is quite a cheesy story, I will give you that. During a semester abroad in Norway, I met my now-girlfriend. She is from Germany, so I decided to spend some time working in Stuttgart to see her and get to know her family. That was when I first got in touch with the talent programs offered by Daimler. Back in Australia, I realized that working in Germany would benefit both my career and my relationship with my girlfriend, so I didn’t hesitate to apply for INspire – the Leaders’ Lab when I had the chance. I have always been interested in working in the automotive industry, especially in the areas of electric and automated mobility.
How did you experience the application phase?
The entire process up to the main recruiting event called “Recruitathon” was conducted online: I recorded a video application and took cognitive and personality tests. The application process was very transparent, and I had a point of contact to support me along the way. Actually, when I received my invitation to the Recruitathon in Stuttgart, I got in touch with the recruiting team to make sure they knew where I was coming from! They hadn’t messed up my location though – and I received support with my flight bookings and my travel expenses were completely covered. The three-day Recruitathon event itself was a really impressive experience. The location was fantastic, and we had a lot of time to fully unfold through the different workshops, discussions and pitches.
How do you like working at Daimler so far?
What I love about working here is the feeling that there is a genuine urge to change the leadership style. In my current assignment, I interact with managers on a regular basis and the motivation for change I perceive is inspiring. I also enjoy the passion for engineering that all of my colleagues have. They sometimes get lost in detailed discussions about tiny parts, which shows me how enthusiastic they are about their work. Overall, I am really looking forward to the next two years. Adapting to German work culture can be challenging at times, such as with the concept of “Du” and “Sie” [an informal and a formal way to address someone, note of Author], but the cultural differences are something I will get used to.
How do you like Stuttgart so far?
I didn’t know what to expect when I first came to Stuttgart. The city seems to have a bad reputation amongst Germans (from what I heard during my semester in Norway), but I have honestly been enjoying it here! There are many cool places to visit in Stuttgart, especially during summer. You can hang out with friends in the vineyards with a beautiful view of the city, enjoy the sun in one of the many parks or go to the crowded city center during the day and at night. The Black Forest and the Swabian Alb are not far away and I love the nature there. It is a nice escape from daily life. Overall, I really like living in Stuttgart – and I say that as an Australian who lived close to the beach.
Have you tried to learn German yet?
Of course! I have been taking classes for quite a while now. Although I can easily communicate with colleagues and friends in English, I think learning German is a must. I’m not finding it too easy though!
Do you have a favorite German word?
“Baumwolle” has to be my favorite so far. I love that it is so literal – cotton being translated as “wool from a tree” – it is beautiful! This word kind of sums up the German language for me.