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Kelvin Bob-Manuel: The Value of Internship



It is uncommon to hear people say that they are willing to volunteer or intern in order to gain work experience that would make them more competitive for the job market. Some time ago, my company was invited to a youth seminar that had heads/owners of businesses as panellists. One of the speakers who received a standing ovation had given some critical advice,which I won’t ever forget. He charged us to “be the job description.” He introduced himself as the Talent Manager for one of the leading telecoms company in Nigeria.
He shared his story of how he went from being a job seeker to becoming a recruiter/scout. Whilst he was searching for a job, surfing the internet on popular job sites, he would always come across the condition-‘must have minimum of 2 years’ experience’ amongst other criteria.

As a fresh graduate with only an IT experience to boast of, he thought to himself that it was almost impossible to get a job then; especially the one (s) that he really wished for.

Over time, he realised that it was a waste of time to keep searching for jobs so he decided to search for internship opportunities. He went from place to place seeking volunteering opportunities, until he finally found one- a ‘no pay, just lunch.’
He shared his concerns about the distance with the employer, but it would count for nothing as that was the best that they could offer him.

After much negotiation, the employer included stipulation that if she was impressed after the specific period of the internship, he would be considered for full-time employment.

Four and a half months down the line, he received an email for a performance review. During the discussion, he was given the feedback on the things that the company thought he could have done better and what he needed to improve on.

After all said and done, a letter of employment was handed to him to his surprise, with a small note, ‘welcome on board’. It was the best news he had heard all year and he did not only get retained, he was promoted beyond his initial position as he had exceeded expectations.

The audience applauded as he ended the story and he offered himself to be a mentor to whomever wished to be mentored. He went on to stress the importance or value of internship saying that, ‘if you cannot get the job, be the job description.

Go out there and add value to an employer.’ One does not hear these stories every day. It is safe to say that skills/competencies developed and demonstrated from work experience override certificates and credentials, and internships are a clear way to develop and display these skills/competencies.

Photo Credit: Phovoir |

At WAVE Academy, We simplify your search for the right employees by matching you with trained workers-saving you time & money so you can focus on growing your business. Connect with Kelvin @waveacademies on all platforms.


  1. Nene

    January 18, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Not many internships are available in Nigeria. And some also have “2 years experience” attached to them

  2. Cookie

    January 18, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Finding an internship most times is just as hard as finding a job. I remember when i finished my nysc, i walked into many companies asking to work for free,no salary,no stipend,nothing. I just wanted on the job experience,and the answer was always NO. It was very frustrating and annoying, its not like am asking for transport allowance or salary, yet getting an internship/volunteer work was a herculean task.

    Companies need to be more flexible and willing to take on graduates who are willing to work for free/intern for free.

    • Lala

      January 18, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      I think you went for big name companies. If you went for focused but decent startups- who typically don’t have all the cash for big salaries, you would get great training and be given more responsibility than at a’big name firm’. That’s the best way to build up your CV as a fresh grad or take a low paid job for starters.

  3. Chic

    January 18, 2017 at 11:21 am

    I think the thing with most young people is that they don’t want to work for free at all. I know it’s hard but if there is a company close to where you live, what’s the hinderance ? You get the experience pending the time you find a paid-job, you network, and there is a very high chance of being officially hired.

    I’m an undergrad and I just recently concluded an internship and doing that internship was one the best decisions I’ve ever made. Nothing beats getting some experience while you’re in school.

    I got to understand how a business environment works, the most important skills in my field and also met some big wigs and networked. The experience was indeed valuable.

    And for those that say it’s hard to get an internship. I’m grateful to God for the grace to have gotten mine. But the key is, start applying early enough and keep mailing the HR managers of different organizations. Check for opportunities online, improve your skills(Microsoft office, particularly excel is very essential), and never stop applying.

    Funny, there’s this man that BellaNaija used to feature his career posts which were extremely useful. I connected with him on LinkedIn and when my friend who recently graduated needed an internship. I linked them up and he helped her get a job that same week.

    Conclusion, improve your skills, make your CV attractive to your employers, keep applying and networking (please open a LinkedIn account). Honestly you can meet that person you need to help you anywhere nowadays. And prayer is definitely important. Ask for grace and favour.

    P.s. This was hastily written. Kindly bear with any errors. ?

  4. Arin

    January 18, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    It would nice if more companies in Nigeria gave this whole internship thing a thought, at least it will give more Nigerian youths something to have on their CV. In fact, the government should make this happen because this whole NYSC is not cutting it. If more companies provide internships then these youths who go out and look for jobs will have something to show.

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