What is the Difference Between an Internship And an Attachment?

The difference between an internship and attachment can be hard to understand if you are in university or in the early stages of your professional life. In this article, you’ll learn about what an internship is, what an attachment is, and how the two differ.

You’ll also learn about the importance of internships and attachments, access tips that will help you when applying, and lastly, get a bonus list of companies offering internships in various fields in Kenya.

What is an Internship?

An internship is a short-term working experience that gives you hands-on experience in your field or company of interest. It is usually offered by companies as an entry-level position or as a program for students or persons with little or no experience in a profession and in many cases, is done at free will by those interested.

According to the policies of a company, the internship may be paid, partially paid or unpaid and the duration may vary.

What is an Attachment?

An attachment is an examinable, short-term work experience that many Kenyan universities and colleges require students to undergo as part of the coursework required for you to graduate.

Usually, these programs are geared towards students in their third or fourth year of study. In many technical courses, they are administered through the National Industrial Training Authority. 

Differences Between an Internship and an Attachment

InternshipAttachment
Open to students and those seeking work experienceMust be a student
Usually done voluntarily or at free willMostly done as a course requirement to qualify for a degree or certification
Can be paid, partially paid or unpaid- depending on company policyUsually unpaid
They can take between three to twelve monthsThey usually take three months to complete
Supervised by the companySupervised by a site/program supervisor at the company/organization and a supervisor at the university

Benefits of Internships and Attachments

Most of the benefits are quite similar and include:

  1. Exposing students and interested people to hands-on work experiences.
  2. Giving those participating an opportunity to work with experienced personnel and to learn from them.
  3. Giving an job-search edge to students and interested people.

Tips on Getting an Internship and Attachment

Internship

Here are some useful tips on searching and applying for an internship or an attachment.

  1. Identify which field or position you would like to get an internship or attachment in. By identifying your preferred position or field, you’ll have a clear picture of what you are looking for.
  2. The Internet is your friend. Use the Internet to look for companies and organisations that work in the same field as what you would like to pursue. Check out their ‘Careers’ page, and even, send in an inquiry email to know if they have open positions
  3. Use your network. Sometimes, asking the people you know gets you to the places you want to go. Ask your friends, family, fellow students, and lecturers about places you can intern or go for an attachment. As a plus, join LinkedIn – a platform that has professionals in your area of interest.
  4. Prepare your CV and cover letter. Most companies and organisations will require you to have your CV ready and will ask for a cover letter that shows your skills and why you would like to join their team. Take time to write these out, and remember to customise your cover letter to each application you make.
  5. Shoot your shot. Go ahead and start searching for that position!

Useful Links

Attachment Programs

  1. National Industrial Training Authority
  2. Kenya Civil Aviation Authority attachment
  3. Brighter Monday (Job search platform)
  4. Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (KenGen
  5. KRA
  6. Kenya Power and Lighting Authority

Internship Programs

  1. Microsoft 4 Afrika Internship Program
  2. Save the Elephants (Elephants and Bees) Internship
  3. Davis and Shirtliff Internship
  4. East African Breweries Limited
  5. KPMG International
  6. Brighter Monday Job search

All the best in your search!

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