We, who live in less-developing countries and even those who live in developed ones often have a challenge in securing gainful employment or self-employment due to one reason a- lack-of- experience. You may have the good grades and the First Class or Second Upper grade from your local or international university but compared to the lady or gentleman with the work experience you don’t stand a chance!

As such, what I am advocating for is an environment supported and sustained by corporate, government and Non-governmental stakeholders to devise a strategy of hiring interns for 3-6 months on a regular basis. This idea may strain into the organizational’s budget but heck it will be a mutually beneficial relationship best described in the business world as win/win. Why am I of this opinion? Simply because the intern is enthused, young, vibrant and wants to prove his or herself to the organization that they are up to the task.

Now, this doesn’t mean that this intern will be merely running errands for the bosses or making tea, photocopying or bumming around the office. This should not be the case but both the intern and the organization should have a meeting and set out a work-plan that will need to be accomplished in a daily, weekly and monthly period. The work load allocated to the intern should be manageable but it should also challenge the individual’s problem solving, creative thinking and communication skills. When this communication and expectations of work are clear from the onset then there will be less micro-management and more productivity from both parties.

I was quite impressed by an article that I came across recently by Kate Stanton entitled, ”rise of the middle-age intern” published by the BBC. I was so impressed by its content and its authenticity because if unemployed mature individuals are willing to humble themselves and seek out internship opportunities for career growth then what of the urgency for our generation X,Y and Z to make it a paramount part of their educational, career and individual growth to seek an internship?

Speaking now in a personal vein, during my college years I was very aggressive in applying and seeking for an internship within the media fraternity but sadly I was never successful. The closest I came was being assigned as a reporter to the remote outskirts of Narok under my own expense. The biggest hindrance that I had was making ends meet at the expense of gaining work experience and not being able to survive.

The biggest challenge about living in the city is paying rent, utility and food more so when you don’t live with your family. In an expensive city such as Nairobi- you may be very excited at the prospect of an internship but equally disappointed that it may not be worth enough because you have no savings or family support to meet your other more basic needs.  This is where organizations and corporate’s can partner and ensure that an internship if not paid then it should at least  provide transport and food to the intern as a form of motivation and compensation. Interns, who are fortunate to have parental support are the exception to this rule and these individuals are the ones that should be more focused and motivated while fulfilling their duties.

I am certain and extremely confident that if more organizations, business leaders as well as the private sector and government worked together to support this ‘internship project’ then cases of alcohol, drug and sexual abuse as well as unemployment would be minimal. The rising generation would be able to fill the skills gap that are required to move the world into the next level by working and learning from those who are in the workforce mix.