A friend recently wrote this post about the plight of interns in Kenya and it kinda hit a nerve for me as it’s an issue that has been on my mind for a while now. Internships are really important in one’s professional development and in some degree courses are a must so as to attain the degree. With the high unemployment rate in Kenya, internships are used as a means to gain valuable experience so as to make it “easier” to get a job.
Unfortunately, internships are also being used by employers to exploit the interns by giving them a large workload at minimum or no pay. In the capitalism driven economy, companies are looking for means and ways to reduce cost and maximize on profit and one of the ways this is done is by reducing the wage bill by using interns. In some organizations the interns are the ones paying the organization as is experienced by interns in such places as KBC. This is difficult for me to understand and despite some people trying to raise the matter most of the Kenyans do not see it as a big issue.
Another issue raised in my friend’s article is despite one going through all these internships most employers fail to recognize their experience. This is especially rampant due to several vices that plague us as a country such as corruption, tribalism and nepotism. This in turn discourages most from doing internships as well as encourages others not to go for internships as they are “assured” of a job in the long run.
The stories and testimonies are many and it is about time that the issue was discussed fully in a public forum. The government promised to address the issue, especially in regards to paying interns but that the effect is yet to be felt.
What is your experience with internships in Kenya?