European Energy Student Network (EESN) was – first of all – an opportunity. Now it is becoming slowly but surely a complex but functional project. The name is changed, but the team and the main core are the same.
YES – Young leaders in Energy and Sustainability – Europe is a dynamic pan-European energy organization run by young professionals. It is also starting to spread in Italy thanks to LEDS-Padova. #EnergyCuE met Ekaterina PARAMONOVA, co-lead of the strategy team and operations manager of YES-Europe.
We can read from your website that YES-Energy-Europe officially started its path from the first YES-Energy-Europe annual conference. But I am sure that you and your team started to think about a European network of students and young professionals way before. How and when was the idea of a European young energy professional network started?
Everything started in January 2016. Talking with energy professors, professionals, and students from various backgrounds and countries, I realized just how silo-ed our community is. There were few opportunities for engineers, policy makers, and business-minded energy young professionals from all of the energy industries, including fossil, nuclear, renewables, etc. to connect with each other. I pitched the idea of organizing a pan-European conference to the EPFL Energy BPT Group… and they were up for the challenge. From here, YES-Europe was born.
The following question comes naturally: why? Why do you and your team think the world (or Europe) needs a young professional network that addresses energy issues?
Being a nuclear engineer by education, I’ve experienced the challenges of silos in the energy community first-hand. Given the complexity of the challenges our industry is facing, we cannot afford for sub-communities of engineering to only talk with engineers, oil folks to not talk with solar professionals, and Swiss energy students to not talk with those solving the same challenges in Germany. Pressing challenges requires us to work together. YES-Europe strives to provide the platform for this to happen.
In the partners section of the YES-Europe webpage there is an impressive list of international companies and association. How do the sponsors work with you on your projects and events? What else beyond sponsorship do they help you with?
We are thankful to our sponsors and knowledge partners, who allow us to conduct our activities thanks to their sponsorship and in-kind support. Together, we can put on hackathons that address real-world problems that they have. Our members also benefit from special job opportunities and content from our partners.
We have a lot of readers (especially from Italy). Most of them are engineering students. Please tell us why we should join YES-Europe and what does “be-an-YES-Europe -member” mean.
YES-Europe is a unique platform to meet other like-minded energy students from all over Europe (and the world) and specialize in the same and different fields as you. Being a YES-Europe member, you get tailored content via our newsletters, such as a comprehensive list of energy conferences, trainings, grants, etc., connect with like-minded individuals and ask / offer resources, and get exclusive access to free passes to conferences, among other opportunities. Together, we build the future.
YES-Europe is also recruiting, am I right? What kind of positions are available? What skills are interesting for you and your daily job in the network?
Of course! We seek reliable young professionals capable of proactively leading various work streams, all within a startup setting. Being a distributed team, effective communication and the ability to work independently is essential. Our vacant positions include: Social Media Lead, Membership Lead, Events Lead, Analyst, Partnership Associate, and Country Representatives.
As you and the entire YES-Europe team represents young, passionate and active people, can you give Energy Close-up Engineering readers some advice? A lot of them are already facing the world of work and its challenges – or they will soon. How does YES-Europe meet the needs of the young people of today (and/or the leaders of tomorrow)?
We strive to learn about the energy industry from different vantage points, which allows us to better solve complex challenges, which require a comprehensive approach. This mentality forms the heart of our network. A solar energy engineer will get actionable insights by learning about the energy policies in his/her country, just as a young professional in the Dutch petroleum sector can benefit from meeting not only other petroleum professionals from Russia but also nuclear and renewables professionals in the UK.
After Lausanne in 2016 and Berlin in 2017, where will be the next Annual Conference? Can you give us some heads up about topics and organization?
The 2018 Annual Conference will be March 16-17 in Madrid and is themed “Energy in a Circular Economy”. We expect 130+ young professionals from 15 countries to attend. It will include talks from esteemed professionals, an idea pitch session, presentations by teams from member countries, and more. Registration opens in December.