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The agony of securing internships in Kenya

By Winnie Onyando September 25th, 2023 2 min read

While it’s widely acknowledged that securing employment is a challenging task in Kenya, many graduates can testify that finding internship opportunities poses an even greater struggle.

Numerous students invest both time and money in their pursuit of these opportunities, as many educational institutions do not actively support their students in securing internships.

Winnie Mbone, who is currently employed, recounts her experience in searching for an internship opportunity.

“The process of finding an internship can be quite draining. I remember my first time in Nairobi, seeking an internship with a renowned media station, which had always been my dream. However, I ended up in a completely different organization, far from my initial aspirations. But I am grateful that I secured a placement; some of my colleagues had to defer their plans because they couldn’t find suitable attachment opportunities,” she told Nairobi News.

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On the other hand, Emmanuel Ouma, a student at one of the universities, shares the challenges he faced while trying to secure an internship.

“I knocked on numerous doors, sent hundreds of applications, and walked tirelessly under the scorching sun just to secure an opportunity. It was a painful experience, perhaps a glimpse into the current situation on the ground, as many young people often describe it. I wish that higher learning institutions would show more benevolence and care towards their students by assisting them in seeking opportunities,” Emmanuel expressed.

The issue of a shortage of opportunities to gain practical skills is a pressing concern that needs swift resolution.

Graduates across the board encounter difficulties in finding apprenticeships, as a large number of them compete for limited positions, and many organizations can only accommodate a small number of students, exacerbating the situation.

Many students are left wondering whether the government or institutions have concrete plans to address this issue, as numerous individuals find themselves in a difficult position without clear prospects.

Learners, especially those from non-urban backgrounds, face added challenges as they attempt to navigate city life while searching for attachments or internships. Some even lose hope as the situation worsens.

Certain students end up in attachment roles that are entirely unrelated to their field of study, simply to meet academic requirements.

However, due to the arduous nature of the search, they accept these positions, only to become frustrated with their lack of valuable skills.

It is crucial for educational institutions to consider diversifying the organizations where they place their students for internships.