How should interns be remunerated in the Private Sector?

On May 1, Rwanda will join the rest of the world to celebrate International Labour Day, with a theme ‘Quality work as a catalyst for development.’

However, recent figures from National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) show that unemployment among graduates of tertiary education is at 18%, something that has prompted several stakeholders to urge the private sector to avail internship opportunities to university graduates to make them marketable on the labour market.


On the other hand, the private sector, which is supposed to absorb some of the graduates, insists that it is too expensive to maintain interns as it increases their operational costs.


Sharon Kantengwa asked policy makers how interns should be remunerated in the Private Sector?


Of course interns deserve their remuneration but the private sector also needs to consider how they will benefit from them. Some companies might not be doing well financially but employees always have to remember that they are ranked number one star performer through internship.

While the interns are contributing to the development of the company in terms of capacity building, at the same time the employers have to invest in terms of allocating existing employees to guide and evaluate these interns but also for the interns to take this on seriously and know that it is not just for the sake of internship but the skills they get at the end of the day.

Celine Uwineza, co-founder Right Seat


Unpaid internships should provide interns with valuable and applicable skills that supplement classroom learning to be useful for their future career.

That is not always the case, though; often times interns are stuck carrying files around office all day.          The risk of landing an unproductive, unpaid internship is simply not worth the effort of applying, for some interns. So whether paid or unpaid, both employers and interns need to remember that learning the knowledge and skills required to be successful in the workplace is something that can’t be taught in school.

Interns ought to get a first-hand look at what’s entailed in actually working for an employer in the real world.

Patricia Agaba, intern


Some employers find hiring interns cost effective because they pay less but the challenge they could face is their unproductivity in terms of skills.

I think that they should look at it in a way that they can all benefit from by ensuring that they both get the skills that they need, but also get interns that are self-motivated and eager to contribute to the company’s development.

Also, there is need for partnerships between the private sector and training institutions on a yearly basis to plan together and help them recruit the right interns that suit them, but also set up job description for them, as opposed to interns just being at the company for the sake of it. It will be a win-win situation.

Alain-Claude Nkurunziza, founder Wide Cleaning Academy


I do believe all interns should be paid because they are indeed adding to the company. They don’t show up to work and sit around all day.

So their input deserves some sort of reward. Clearly interns are not like employees so they shouldn’t be paid the same amount but all interns should be given a salary even though it’s small because they too are being productive.

Martina Abera, intern




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