7 Challenges Kenyan Students Go Through During Internship Programs

With skyrocketing unemployment rates in the country, landing an internship in Kenya is almost equivalent to finding your dream job. Therefore, it is interesting and heart-warming when an internship comes your way. However, more often than not, most students never meet their expectations. Their internships are characterized by frustrations from day one to when you walk out of that gate. Here are the hurdles you will surely go through during internship.

No job description

Most organizations in Kenya today do not have a JD for interns. Students find themselves doing every odd and casual task that employees cannot do. For ladies, they are quickly turned into tea gals, personal assistants and secretaries. Some internship contracts never give clear definition of an intern, giving lazy staffs room to misuse interns. To avoid such frustrations, inquire about your job description either on interview day or on reporting date.

Sexual harassment

Cases of interns being caught romping with senior employees in parking lots are common. This is called office sex. It all starts with an invitation for lunch, then free lift in the evening up to your doorstep. There is nothing like free lift, you will pay with your body. Before long, you will receive a call over the weekend from your so-called boss for coffee at Java. For many interns, this appears like a golden opportunity since they are as broke as church mouse to say no.

No Work Station for interns

A company offers you an internship only to learn on reporting day that the department is too small and cannot accommodate you. The boss either tells you that you will be accommodated in other departments or squeeze yourself somewhere. In some cases, you sit in shifts, such that you alternate using the only available seat for interns. It is no surprise to find yourself operating from the reception as if you are visiting the organization.

Less work or No work at all

Count yourself lucky if you have enough work to do during internship. With the aim of gaining work experience, students feel frustrated when they spend their Monday to Fridays doing nothing but surfing the net. Others will opt to give you tasks that really add no value to your CV. This takes you back to your JD. Know your job description and your rights as an intern.

No Pay for interns

Do you know of any organization in Nairobi that pays interns? They could be a handful. Even top media houses hardly pay interns. No one cares how interns survive yet they are expected to deliver more than permanently employed staff. Why are these companies this mean and heartless?

I do not know what I am doing

Should we blame our educational system? Maybe. The truth is that very few students know what is expected of them during internship. Over the years, theory has suffocated our educational system instead of practical skills to help students fit in the job market with ease.

No recommendation letter

Some HR managers are so incompetent and unfit to be swinging in their chairs and enjoying air-conditioned ambience. They will toss you up and down like a dice when you ask for a recommendation letter at the end of internship. That is your right. Do what it takes to get it. After all, how will you account for the three months you ‘wasted’ on internship?

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