Tusker Mattresses, better know as Tuskys, has commissioned a new pool of next generation retail management leaders under its Tuskys Internship programme.

The commissioning of the 4th Tuskys Internship Cohort members at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) featuring a pool of more than 10,000 recent applicants, among them 20 holders of Master’s degrees, is part of the retailer’s strategic manpower development programmes to bridge an acute trained human resource gap in the formal retail sector.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony Friday morning, Tusker Mattresses Chief Executive Officer Dan Githua confirmed that the firm’s internship initiative has helped to provide a sustainable supply of qualified candidates to fill emerging retail management roles at the firm and beyond.

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Based on screened applications recently submitted for consideration, Githua said more than 22 Masters Degree holders have expressed an interest to join the programme. An assessment of the applications, he added also confirms that the number of ladies applying for the internship slots at Tuskys far outnumbers those of the male gender.

“The local retail sector has continued to enjoy steady growth and is ranked as the second most developed sector on the continent after South Africa. However, the growth has not been consistent with the pool of available retail management trainees, which we are actively moving to address,” Githua said.

Youth Fund Chairman, Ronald Osumba disclosed that the 4th cohort had received more than 10,000 applications.

The applicants will undergo a competitive interview process featuring a panel of interviewers seeking to retain the most passionate and skilled beneficiaries. Once selected, the beneficiaries will be attached to the Joram Kamau Leadership School to undertake comprehensive hands on training in retail operations and management. Established in 2015, the School provides academic and practical skills training for entry level students wishing to pursue formal retail careers.

Studies at the Joram Kamau Leadership School cover both elementary and management level retail studies. Already, plans are underway to certify the school’s training curriculum with Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development at certificate, diploma and degree levels.

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According to Githua, the programme’s attraction has continued to grow in stature and has this year managed to attract the cream of the academic crop.

“We noted interesting trends in this cohort of applications: First female applicants far outnumber male applicants, and more notable is most of the applicants for the internships are graduates – up to 60% of applicants had degrees” said Githua. “In fact we had more than 20 applicants holding Masters degrees,” he added.

Initiated in July 2016, the Tuskys Internship programme now its second phase has processed more than 25,000 applications over four cohorts.

Last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta at the launch of the KCB 2jiajiri and Generation Kenya projects spearheaded by the KCB Foundation and McKinsey, singled out the Tuskys internship programme as a critical skills transfer initiative for Kenyan youth.

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“It is time to turn beneficiaries into benefactors. It is time you did more to teach our children the skills they need to make the most of their gifts; and to support the educators who work so hard to educate the young Kenyans who will come to work for you. I am very encouraged by some of the programmes about which I have learned — things like the internship programme by Tusky’s supermarkets, which has taken on many young people, and taught them the skills they need to succeed in the workplace,” President Kenyatta said.

Now in its 3rd year, the Tuskys Internship programme, supported by the KCB Foundation, ministry of Trade Industry seeks to enlist 10,000 trainees by 2020.

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