5 questions with Alara Kocabas, Policy Communications Trainee

Alara, how did you end up doing this traineeship in the energy sector with Eurogas?  

During my time at King’s College London, I became involved with the European Society of the university. As Belgian and Turkish national, I felt like I didn’t fully connect with either side, so I strongly resonated with my European identity. Through the European Society, I met the Young European Movement UK, the UK section of JEF Europe, in which I became active in their Policy and Climate working groups. I decided that I wanted some work experience before furthering my studies. Working in the energy sector seemed very exciting especially with the energy transition that is under way. I started working at TotalEnergies as an EU Public Affairs Trainee; my experience there solidified my interest in energy policy. Eurogas seemed like the perfect next step in my career before I start my masters based on my interests and skills, which is a choice I’m glad I made!

What would you advise the new generation of trainees before they begin their careers?

I would advise them to not be discouraged easily! Even when things do not work out the way you had originally planned, you are able to learn from your experiences and have the opportunity to try something new. Have an idea of the career path you want or the sector you want to ideally work in, but do not let this limit you, especially in the beginning. There is not a single correct path to end up where you want. Just because things are currently not going the direction you were expecting, it does not mean that you will not end up at your destination. Sometimes the perfect opportunity for you is something that you are not even currently aware of, so it is important to be open to new experiences.

What would you like to achieve in the next five or so years in your career?

I would like to learn as much as I can from experts in my field, especially the technical aspects, so that I can become an expert in my own right and be more confident in my abilities. I would love to be able to focus on energy security whether it be in the European Union or another region. Furthermore, I would like to make the most out of my experiences and have developed my personal skills such as public speaking.

If you could share one message with European leaders in a personal capacity, what would it be?

I would tell them to make decisions about the energy transition to fight the climate emergency based on scientific data and insights from all stakeholders. It is important that the policies set are ambitious yet realistic so that the goals can be achieved instead of staying a political statement. It is essential to listen to the stakeholders affected by these decisions in order to ensure a just transition on the path to net zero. While it is extremely complex, this challenge gives the European Union the opportunity to be the leader in the energy transition.

Lastly, what would you like to achieve by retirement? 

I would like to be proud of what I have achieved and how I maintained my values throughout my career. I would love to look back thinking how I never gave up on my goals and did the best I could in every situation I was. Ideally, I would like to imagine that I was guided by my passion to follow my own path instead of following others. If I make my decisions true to myself, I know I would have no regrets.