Journey 2020: The student’s view

Hubert Put is from Poland, originally born and raised in Krakow, and he took part in this year’s Journey.

With a background and Bachelor’s in Energy Engineering, Hubert specialised in Energy Transition for his Master’s, which covered engineering, management, chemistry but also policy.

He’s also a facilitator of the Erasmus Student Network, a student organisation that supports international students on their Erasmus journey.

Hi, Hubert. Can you tell us how you got involved with the Journey?

I was taking part in a case study event during European Utility Week in Paris in 2019, where one of my friends there was a graduate of the Journey 2019. He said it was a great programme and a good opportunity to build on skills like business planning, value creation proposition, and business modelling.

I had a lot of work to do for my Master Thesis, so I didn’t apply immediately, but after I returned to Poland, partly also because of the COVID crisis, I applied to join the Journey 2020.

What were your expectations and takeaways from the Journey programme?

I hoped to do a lot of networking, meet amazing people, find inspiration, and build on my skills in innovation and building business models. I also hoped to take a step forward in my career; to add something to my CV that is recognisable by the other parties, but also gain skills and knowledge that I could use when talking to people from business, HR, or managers in interviews.

Often I find that the reality of jobs, events and conferences is different from what is advertised, but in the case of the Journey all my expectations were met. I got so much inspiration from our coaches, Laura Janssen and Rowan Simoensen as well as learning facilitation techniques. They were really great and I’d like to thank them, because they really made the online Journey an extraordinary experience. Secondly I met a lot of people from start-ups and external coaches, who led workshops and supported us with their ideas and thoughts, helping us deliver our business cases. 

What I’ll personally remember the most is one of the coaches, Jan Behrenbeck, saying about a business case: ‘Build it as you love it, test it as though you hate it.’ This is something that I will definitely use in my career, whether I end up in a start-up or as an energy engineer or analyst.

How was the digital experience?

I think maybe the ideas would have flown and flourished a bit faster if the programme was in person. Sometimes the technology didn’t work properly and we had some issues with connectivity and finding our way around the links and resources. Overall though it was a good experience. The best thing about the Journey being digital was having the chance to improve my skills when it came to digital tools and managing projects online. I think this will be really useful in the future. 

How do you feel better equipped to contribute to climate impact?

I feel like all is not lost! There were so many ideas presented during the programme, that I now know there are a lot of amazing minds and ideas in this world working on this. Some of them have been discovered, but still need to be implemented, and others need to be developed more or even created. 

With the current speed of development, especially when it comes to waste management and renewable energy, I am sure the outlook is positive. However what we need to do is work on the legal framework and disseminate these projects in society. We need to make people aware that climate change is something that we can tackle. We can support the actions that are going to mitigate it or at least make it happen at a slower pace.

What do you hope to do in the future?

In the future I’d like to be part of a start-up or bigger entity, with a group of people who want to work hard on tackling climate change. Ideally something that looks a bit like my Journey project, working on alternative energy supply for rural communities especially dependent on centralised energy production. We established a draft of a company called Grow Green, which is based on promoting, consulting and project and process management for energy prosumers in local communities and agriculture. Our case study was based on the country of Estonia, but our project map forecasts expansion for the whole Baltic Region and Central Europe.

Alternatively, in two years I would love to be working in a company that cares about the environment; a company that cares about a cleaner world, takes into account EU directives and expectations, and acts towards meeting the temperature targets that we need.