Some of the first cohort interns pose for a photo at the store.

As applications for the second cohort of Tuskys internship programme came to a close on June 30th, the reality of joblessness in Kenya became more apparent. According to results of the applications, majority of applicants were masters and undergraduate degree holders seeking to intern at Tuskys, Kenya’s second biggest retail chain in terms of turnover.

“The fact that even holders of Master’s degrees are looking for internships is a pointer that we have a huge role to play in filling in the skills gap,” said Tuskys CEO Dan Githua. “It shows that experience is as important as academic qualifications in the employment market.”

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But it also showed how desperate the jobless market has become with thousands of graduates chasing fewer jobs in the market. So few that candidates resorting to applying for jobs and opportunities they are overqualified to increase their chances of being considered.

The Tuskys internship attracted over 3,000 applicants across the country, who will work as cashiers, back office staff, fresh department attendants and shop assistants.  

The management said it extended the offer to its loyalty customers who could nominate two people. The applications had varied qualifications with a majority of applicants being masters and undergraduate degree holders, followed by diploma and certificate holders.

The selection process and shortlisting is now ongoing by an independent HR panel. “The shortlisted candidates will also be expected to undergo interviews because we want to test competency in all aspects including communication and presentation skills,” said Tuskys Human Resources Manager Lucy Watari.

The Chain launched the internship programme in October 2015 to address the challenge of youth unemployment and the need to mentor staff for the retail sector.

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This is part of the Chain’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiative that has so far transformed lives of over 700 interns, 90 per cent of who are now working in Tuskys’ 54 branches countrywide. The launch of the ambitious programme was based on an assessment of these needs, which will see Tuskys recruit and train 1,500 interns annually for the next five years.

This then means that by the end of the first five years, over 8,000 interns will have been trained.

The programme targets the youth, who have limited opportunities, are in marginalized areas or lack resources to seek out the training and job opportunities offered under the programme.

Tuskys recently signed an MOU with KCB Foundation to expand the internship programme. This will involve training and up-skilling of youth in agribusiness who will then be given opportunities to supply eggs, sweet potato, poultry products and vegetables to the supermarket chain.

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