NEET Testimonials

Although the Covid-19 outbreak has halted most of our NEETs plans for their apprenticeships and local placements some of them had the opportunity to implement them and we asked them to share their expiriencees:

Here are their stories:

Kristjan, Estonia

The YENESIS project through its learning, social and mobility program has given me a wonderful opportunity to augment my awareness on topics such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport and mobility and to network with like-minded people. In a nutshell the program was comprised of two parts – a long-term local placement and a short-term international placement.

The long-term placement took place at an Environmental Engineering/Construction company called Schöttli Keskkonnatehnika AS. The apprenticeship allowed me to work on a preliminary design of a water purification plant. The given project was highly challenging and it allowed me to improve the following skills: project management, communication, knowledge of energetics industry/energy production, knowledge of modern water treatment technologies available on the market, drafting and networking among other things. The project was very high paced and exciting.

The short-term placement took place in Athens, Greece in an organization called DAFNI – Network of Sustainable Islands. This apprenticeship allowed me to gain a broad overview about the sustainability sector in Greece and the concerns and developments in the water management sector.
The project with which I was affiliated with was “Smart Island Kythnos”. During this placement I had an opportunity to have a field trip to the island that is also the “pilot site” and get an on-ground overview about the water management practices. I was introduced to the existing water distribution infrastructure and had a brief overview about the current water treatment practices.

As the apprenticeship was conducted mainly on distance I had an opportunity to research various topics related to the project and to learn about software such as QGIS. Another important aspect of YENESIS was the networking, which allowed me to come in touch with many people with different backgrounds, but who all share the same values and interests.

Matijia, Croatia

My name is Matija, I come from the Croatian island of Ciovo. At the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture in Zagreb, I completed a specialization that focuses on renewable energy sources. After graduating, I joined the YENESIS project. The very concept of the YENESIS project gave me the opportunity to combine the knowledge gained at the faculty with the real sector. Through many pieces of training on the project itself, we learned how to write a sustainable business plan, see in which sectors there is great potential to open your own business and connect with people of similar interests. I am thrilled with the concept of connecting young ambitious people from islands from other countries. After all the trainings, together with a colleague, I opened my own company for the design and installation of photovoltaic systems in family homes.

Elena, Italy

Everything started when I received the information that I was selected to participate to YENESIS project. I was so excited about taking part to it; mainly, because its aim is to increase the youth employment in European countries through the creation of green jobs, concerning four different fields, that are: energy efficiency, renewables, sustainable tourism and mobility. 

Living in Livorno, harbours and island realities have always been part to my everyday life, for this reason I decided to specialize in the sector of sustainable mobility. I had the possibility to deepen this topic thanks to the local placement that I carried out at the Innovation, Development and European Program Direction of the Authority of Harbour System of the Tyrrhenian North Sea. In addition to the ports of Livorno and Piombino, the harbour Authority also includes the ports of the Island of Elba and the Island of Capraia. This last aspect allowed me to compare different activities between island realities and not, and to highlight the greatest differences. Through the analysis of the European projects, where the Direction was involved, I was able to point out a lot of modern and current issues related on the development and the utilisation of sustainable port policies and infrastructures. Indeed, the aim of several projects is to reduce air and noise pollution caused by all types of transport, that are concerned with the process of goods and passengers’ handling, inside the port reality.I could be part of a specialized equip composed of different scientific figures, who handled the development of projects’ technical activities. In addition, I took part to several seminars organized and/or suggested by my office, where the main topics were circular and blue economy. It allowed me to remain constantly updated on the different, implemented techniques of new sustainability. Thanks to the participation at the European projects I came into contact with international realities and this exchange of knowledge and collaboration have been creating concrete solutions toward an increase of sustainable mobility.

Kadri, Estonia

Out of the five topics within the YENESIS project I chose renewable energy which led me to have my local placement at Kuresaare Soojus AS, which is a local energy production business located at the island of Saaremaa where I am from. Kuressaare Soojus is responsible to produce district heat energy to the city of Kuressaare and the rest of the island. In the production process they are using locally bought woodchips and thanks to co-generation plant they are able to produce heat and electricity in a much more environmentally friendly and efficient manner. Some of the interesting facts about Kuressaare Soojus is that in 2019 the cross-heat production was over 50.000 MWh and the heat energy is distributed between around 8000 people.

During the local placement I was able to visit the fireplace and got to know the basics of it. Having gained my degree in entrepreneurship and project management back in 2012, my main task was to analyse the cross production of heat and electricity and the loss of production due to the failures, or the so-called reliability of the plant. I corrected and updated the visualization charts in ArcGis and CAD software based on the input from specialists. As such, I contributed most of my time to investigate the main reasons of failures and its effects on heat production, with the aim to provide input for the development of more efficient and environmentally friendly production processes in the future. Since the area is new for me, I gained a great amount of new knowledge exploring the so called backstage of the energy and heat production of my own home island. I also participated at the YENESIS business mentoring meeting which gave me a lot of food for thought in terms of some of the potential business ideas that I have and which I may pick up more seriously in the future. 

Marina, Cyprus

I applied for YENESIS because I felt the need to turn towards a green profession and a more environmental way to practice Architecture and Urban Planning. During my placement at the Cyprus Energy Agency I had the opportunity to be actively involved in projects that combine many of my interests on sustainable development, especially sustainable mobility and nature in cities. Even though I was always reading about these subjects and I tried to stay informed about the current trends and practices, it was very valuable for me to get practical experience through working on real case studies and challenges of my local context. I am particularly happy with my participation in a sustainable mobility district project which follows the principle of sustainable development (soft mobility, nature-based solutions, accessibility) and engages with citizens from the very beginning of the project.

Sevastianos, Greece

My name is Sevastianos and I was born and raised in the island of Naxos. Many years ago I felt the need to participate in any technological improvement that will resolve in a cleaner and sustainable island! So in 2019 I joined the YENESIS project which helped me vision my next steps in the island and choose what was right for me. Through the YENESIS project I participated in many seminars in which I had the opportunity to meet and talk to some of the best companies and individuals in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable tourism, business innovation, and sustainable transport. During the seminars in Athens I got to meet many other interesting people my age that had the same goals as me, a sustainable and environmentally friendly home.We have been exchanging ideas and news on sustainable islands ever since. Returning to Naxos I decide to try and make a change and co-founded with a friend a company called Aegean Energy Solutions. The company specializes in renewable energy,takes over the completion of government energy programs for houses and completes any electrical installation that has to do with the higher energy efficiency of houses. Because of the YENESIS project I found others that have the same concerns and wishes with me and together we now can truly achieve a sustainable environment

Maribel,Estonia

My name is Maribel and I am from a small Estonian island called Ruhnu. Ruhnu is the furthest Estonian island and is very unique in terms of its location as its administratevely part of Saare County in Estonia but is actually more closer to Latvia than Estonia. The island has about less than 100 inhabitants and its total size is 11.9 km2. I recently graduated from high school and took a gap year in order to make up my mind about what I would like to do in the future. I saw the advertisement of YENESIS project and decided to participate as it gives me a chance to explore my future possibilities. As I have always been very passionate about horses and one of my longest dreams has been bringing horses back to Ruhnu island, organize horse-ridings through its forests and through the coastline, in order to bring the enjoyment of horse-riding and the beauty of glazing sunsets to the people of Ruhnu. As such I saw the thematic field of sustainable tourism under the Yenesis project as a great opportunity to network more in this area. This brought me to another Estonian island called Muhu to do my local placement at Tihuse horse-riding farm which gives me an excellent opportunity to further pursue my passion. Tihuse farm is mostly about horses and sustainable tourism, it has 214 horses but also lots of cows. My tasks there during my local placement vary daily. Some days are filled with tourists wanting to do horseback ride through the island of Muhu, then I have to prepare the horses and make them ready for the rides. Other days consist of maintaining horse equipment, feeding the horses and picking apples for them. Sometimes when it is necessary I guide the horses or cows pack to other richer pastures. Guiding is one of my favorite tasks but it also needs a lot of dicipline and logical thinking. Being part of Tihuse farm has thought me lots of amazing things, brought so many new people and connections to my life and I just feel like I am where I should be to bring me a step closer for the fulfillment of my dream to adopt and bring something similar to Ruhnu island in the future.

Marilena, Cyprus

Leaving the comfort zone and entering a new environment is a challenge itself. Organizing the trip and creating a new routine from the beginning, these are processes that cause stress and insecurity. But only this way, do we give ourselves the opportunity to experience more constructive experiences and increase our performance. YENESIS is a program designed for young scientists and emerging entrepreneurs who want to expand their knowledge and skills in the fields of energy efficiency, RES, sustainable tourism and sustainable transport. Through the program I was given the opportunity to work on the island of Alonissos in August 2020 and to train on issues related to sustainable development using alternative forms of tourism. This month was very constructive both for the knowledge and experience I gained during my collaboration with experienced professionals in the field, and for the opportunity I had to get to know the island and its people better. With my involvement in the information center but also via the interviews with the local businesses of the island, I had the opportunity to meet people from different professional and educational backgrounds. Initially, my acquaintance with the representatives of the island (mayor, deputy mayors) helped me both in my integration into the new environment and in the fulfilment of my duties. Secondly, getting in contact with the businessmen operating on the island, helped me to understand the habits and any problems of the local community. The internship networking paved the way for any future collaborations that may arise. The impressive natural landscape of Alonissos is one of the main features of the island. The beaches of Alonissos combine crystal clear waters and lush vegetation. The waters of the island are amongst the cleanest in the Aegean and have been declared a water park because a rare species of seal, the Monachous Monachous breeds there. I was lucky enough to live in Chora of Alonissos, perhaps the most beautiful Chora of Sporades, a mountainous settlement (not far from beaches) unique for its beauty and architecture. Palio Chorio is located at the top of a hill, with a supervisory view to all parts of the horizon and is only 3 km from Patitiri (port and capital of the island). The main characteristics of the village are the narrowness of the space, where the houses are very tightly built next to each other, so it is not possible to travel by motorbike or car. Chora is small in size and easy to walk. The bus from the port leaves you on its outskirts and from there you continue on foot. What you remember from a place you visited, are the relationships you created, the tastes, the smells, and the new images you obtained. Apart from the educational nature of the program and the fact that it was a source of inspiration for activism in areas related to sustainable development, YENESIS gave me the opportunity to create memories.

Ino, Greece

My name is Ino and I am living in the greenest island of Greece, Skopelos. In 2019 I felt the need to bring new and greener visions to the island, closer to nature and ecotourism. When I joined the Yenesis project, I found a whole new inspiration to make innovative steps in the island and a team to support them. In January 2020, I participated in a one-week-long training, in which I learnt about renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable tourism, business innovation, and sustainable transport. I was really impressed by the relation between green jobs and business innovation, so I found myself trying to learn more about it. At that point, I joined the business mentorship of Yenesis project to get the whole picture. Regarding the local placement, I helped the municipality by working at the local museum, conducting guided tours for some time under the umbrella of the sustainable tourism. After that, I decided to invest my time to a project that I have started with a partner, called Skopelos Trail Race, by the Modern trail Runners. Yenesis project helped us bloom and focus even more on the management of the trails that the race is going to use. Of course, the main focus of the project is the ecofriendly function of every corner of the island. Through all this experience of participation in Yenesis project so far, I have learnt the importance of keeping your place green and safe and the effect of trying to do something different for the community in general. You can find more details about our race on the social media.

Rauno, Estonia

My name is Rauno and I am from the biggest Estonian island called Saaremaa. In 2019 after graduating from high school, I decided to take a year off to decide what I would like to do in life. I joined Yenesis project because it is one way to explore the world of different opportunities. I participated in one-week-long training back in January 2020, where I learnt about various topics such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable tourism, business innovation and sustainable transport. I was triggered by the linkages that can be made between business innovation and green jobs and I further applied and participated at the business mentorship meeting under the Yenesis project. As one of the obligations under the Yenesis project is to complete a local placement, I decided to invest my time further developing the street food booth called WIO Burger that me and my friends a few years ago founded. Yenesis project pushed me and my team to focus even more on using local ingredients and products from local businesses and to make sure that we use compostable food packaging to reduce the negative environmental impacts. As a co-owner, it is important for me to maintain the cash flow circulation on the local island by at the same time contributing to the islands sustainable tourism by providing a greener and local food place for the visitors to stop by. From all of this experience so far participating at the Yenesis project, I have learnt the importance of green jobs, clear communication and the effectiveness of time. WIO Burger has gained a lot of positive attention throughout this summer and we will definitely continue to grow. Our homepage can also be found from Facebook.