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Why that internship is crucial for students

When she applied for internship at a Nairobi factory, Christine Mwikali was not really sure what to expect. For the past two years, she has been studying for a Diploma in Supplies Chain and Procurement Management at Mount Kenya University and three months of internship was a requirement for the course.

Two months into the internship at the new Vitafoam Products Limited, she now understands why the course would have been incomplete without the internship. “I have worked at the central stores for one month and now I have moved to the data entry section. Working in these two areas has shown me the importance of managing stock (both incoming and outgoing) and recording data for future reference,” says Christine.

In college, you learn such things in theory, but seeing how a simple mistake can cost the company has really opened my eyes. “Vitafoam factory makes mattresses and ordering the raw materials in good time ensures there is a smooth flow of work in the factory floor. Recording the data of quantities that have left the factory also means that customers are never kept waiting,” says Christine.

She says she has realised that performance in the organisation is dependent on team work and there is need to get along with everyone even though you are not working with them directly. “Staff are very helpful and I am grateful for their encouragement and gentle correction when I get things wrong,” she says.

“Following the rules and company ethics is important in a real work environment. Unlike in college where you can get late for a lecture and no one reprimands you, interns are treated the same as employees so I cannot afford to be sloppy. I have enjoyed the work that I have been doing and I look forward to getting a job in a similar business once I have completed my diploma,” says Christine.

Nicholas Kirwa, the Vitafoam Products Limited Human Resources Manager says, “Internships are very important to both employers and employees. While students are able to test a career before fully committing to it, employers are also able to study talent and attitude without first offering jobs. Interns with great potential stand out during the three month period.”

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