Sibel Gökbekir
Sibel Gökbekir: “If you’re interested in the energy transition and you want to do something about it, I would really advise learning about Energietalenten.” (Photo: Heather Montague)

Who are the people who study or work at TU Delft? We meet them in Humans of TU Delft. This time: Master’s student Sibel Gökbekir about the Energietalenten programme.

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“In high school I did my senior thesis on solar energy. It was divided into two parts, the theory part and the practical part. In the theory part, I dived deeper into solar energy, the active and passive solar technologies, and in the practical part, I made my own solar cell. I found that interesting and knew then that I wanted to do something with energy. I did my bachelor’s here in Systems Engineering, Policy Analysis and Management in the energy track at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management. Now I am in the first year of my master’s in Complex Systems Engineering and Management, also within the energy domain.

It was during the third year of my bachelor’s that I heard about Energietalenten (in Dutch). I had friends who were one year ahead of me who were also teaching assistants and I saw some LinkedIn recruiting announcements through them. I asked questions to the people I knew and that's how I first got involved. Energietalenten is a network of ambitious master’s students from all over the Netherlands who do a two-year master’s in the field of energy.

The programme consists of multiple things. For example, every month we have an in-house day where we visit the energy companies that are our partner companies. They also fund our scholarships. So every month we go to one of these partner companies and we work on energy cases. Some of these companies are very technical and some of them are more involved in the management of energy. For example, we do cases about what challenges the companies face and then we try to solve them as groups. We present our solutions at the end of the day and then the company also presents information for people who might want to work there, showing the things you can do. These visiting days are interesting because if you want to pursue a career in the energy transition, it's really the place to be.

‘The new generation really knows what it is about’

The second thing we do is give guest lectures to high school students. This is something I really like because during my bachelor’s, I did tutoring for exams in mathematics and physics. I already knew I loved giving lectures and now I can do this for the energy transition. Most of the students are VWO  6 or HAVO 5, but now we see that the students are becoming aware of the climate change and energy transition problems earlier and earlier. So we also started giving lectures to students in the first year of high school. I see that when I ask questions about the energy transition and what renewable energies are, the students already know about it. And when I talk to alumni of Energietalenten, they say it was not like this in the beginning. So the new generation really knows what it is about.

Those are the two main things we do, but of course we have activities for community building. In September, when the academic year starts, we have an introduction weekend to get to know each other better because we have two classes. There’s the new class that is starting the programme and the ‘old’ one in their second year. We also do social activities like we celebrate ‘Sinter-kerst’ (Sinterklaas & Christmas), for example. We give each other presents, but the presents have to be secondhand things to make it more sustainable.

Another interesting thing is we also get invited to conferences. A few months ago, I spoke at the Offshore Energy Conference and Exhibition together with some fellow Energietalenten students. We brought some young perspectives into the debate about the direction our society and our energy system will take in the energy transition. And what was really interesting about this is that I had the opportunity to connect with so many talented and passionate individuals who are all working to push the boundaries of what is possible. And it was very nice to see some of the best and brightest minds in the industry as well.

I think if you are interested in the energy transition and you want to do something about it, I would really advise learning about Energietalenten. Our mission is to inspire everyone, from our closest loved ones to high school students of all ages, to get involved in the biggest transition known to humankind. Don't miss out on this invaluable opportunity to make a positive impact!”

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