Happy with his dream job: Fred Martin tests large solar power plants in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region for TÜV Rheinland. The 36-year-old found his way there through a six-month internship he undertook as part of the Heinz Nixdorf Programme. With the support of this scholarship between 40 and 50 young management talents travel to Asia each year to gain an insight into local working life. GIZ organises and runs the programme.
As a child I had a lot of dreams. I wanted to be an astronaut, for example. I was interested in technology from an early age, but also for the human aspects involved. For a long while I considered studying industrial engineering, physics or even philosophy. Eventually I opted for mechanical engineering, which was the perfect compromise for me.
My work is very varied. As team leader in the photovoltaics department I am responsible for approving and inspecting large solar power plants. I have to ensure we stick to our schedule and remain within budget, in addition to motivating my colleagues. I discuss resources with senior management and coordinate tasks and teams worldwide. Sometimes I visit customers with sales staff, or I carry out tests in the laboratory.
The language, and I am very grateful that the scholarship provided me with the necessary foundations. Nowadays I speak very good Japanese although, after seven years, I still haven’t mastered the graphic characters enough to be able to check contracts myself or to read detailed texts. Japanese remains a never-ending voyage of discovery for me!
I always ask myself if the difficulties really are so serious, or whether it is only the stress that makes them seem so. It is therefore important to first analyse the problem, before looking at it calmly and solving it.
Almost seven years ago I couldn’t have imagined that I would stay in Japan for so long. I’d actually only planned to stay for eight months, so I’m always careful about making predictions. That is the nice thing about life, though; it’s full of surprises. I can see myself staying here longer; the people are nice, the weather fantastic, the trains punctual, the post service reliable and there are a lot of practical things like shops that are open 24:7. Whatever happens, I hope that my family and I will be happy.