Business / Economy
Wednesday, 13 Jul 2016 21:10 EATmkwamboka@kenyafreepress.com
Imagine a supermarket chain advertising opportunities for clerical jobs and getting mostly Masters degree graduates applying. Now imagine that these opportunities were actually for six-month internships rather than direct employment.
Kenyans have been shocked by the news that Tuskys Supermarkets received 3,000 applications after advertising 800 vacancies for internship in the company. The majority of the applicants hold master’s and bachelor’s degrees, which means that the organization has a huge role to play in filling in the skills gap.
The internship programme which is targeting 1,600 youths is being undertaken in partnership with the KCB Foundation, the non-profit arm of the Kenya Commercial Bank. The two partners were to recruit 800 interns each, who would be seconded to Tuskys's 54 branches for training as cashiers, shop attendants and suchlike.
The programme that commenced in 2015 sought to address youth unemployment and the need to mould staff that would meet the needs of the retail sector. The programme targeted youths with limited opportunities, in particular those from marginalized areas or who lack resources to undertake expensive training.
The news has revealed the acute level of unemployment in Kenya even as official statistics indicate a high rate of job creation. The news generated buzz on social media, with many Kenyans expressing concern at the slow rate of creation of formal sector jobs.
The supermarket chain's chief executive, Dan Githua, said the unexpected interest in the position by Master's degree holders "is a pointer that we have a huge role to play in filling in the skills gap.”
The writer is a journalism student at Moi University currently on internship at the Kenya Free Press, specializing in health, crime and society issues.