As over 532 students who scored a mean grade A (plain) and A- (minus) in the 2018 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) Examination joined the Equity Bank’s paid internship program,under the Wings to Fly program.The Equity Bank leading retail Bank in East and Central Africa has called upon the scholars to be the catalyst in development of the Kenyan State.
The 532 students who include 160 scholars from the Wings to Fly program and 363 top students from across the country will intern at various Equity Bank branches across Kenya.
During their internship costing Ksh 393 million, the students will benefit from structured mentorship and training to build work ethics and leadership skills. Additionally, the interns will have an opportunity to receive support to secure scholarships in leading global universities.
Speaking to the students during the induction and commissioning, Equity Group Holdings Managing Director and C.E.O Dr James Mwangi articulated “When I look at you, I see the face of Kenya, very diverse. As you begin this transition from secondary school to the work environment and eventually to institutions of higher learning, it is important for you to realize that our expectations of you are very high. You are the future leaders of this country,”he said
Dr. Mwangi further urged the students to be agents of change and build networks that can address national challenges.
“You’re joining a network of 14,524 Equity Leadership Programme members. You are starting a journey of life together with other gifted Kenyans of the same age group. This will be your biggest asset in your career, because out of this group will emerge captains of industry, leaders of business, the public service and other sectors,”said Dr Mwangi before deployment of the scholars to various stations.
On personal and career development, he advised the students to embrace competition with themselves and set goals that are ambitious and achievable. “I urge you to pursue a career path that matches your personality, and one that you are passionate about. Compete against yourself, and continuously set goals that are ambitious and attainable,” Dr. Mwangi added.
Started in 1998, the internship program is part of the Equity Leaders Program (ELP) that seeks to address the challenges of employability and leadership among young people. ELP includes secondary graduates from Equity’s Wings to Fly program. Equity Group developed the ELP with the aim of creating a community of transformative leaders who work together across borders and various sectors to drive sustainable economic growth and social progress in Africa. To date, 14,524 scholars have joined the Equity Leaders Program, with 12,256 qualifying for university with 489 securing admissions and scholarships to global universities in the US such as Harvard, Yale and Stanford in addition to other universities in countries like Canada, China, France, South Africa, Ghana and the United Kingdom.
The deployment of the student interns follows an intensive 2-week residential induction program. The induction was designed to acquaint the over 500 scholars with the Bank’s operations before they commence the paid internship at various Equity Bank branches countrywide, as they wait to join universities locally and abroad. Each of the scholars will earn a stipend of Kshs 40,000 per month, part of which they will save and use the balance for their upkeep. ELP provides an opportunity for the brightest students across Kenya to build their professional skills while earning enough money to put them through their first year of university.
Tiberious Mogendi, from Chania High School, who scored an A- in his KCSE examination, had nothing but gratitude for Equity Group Foundation for the opportunity. “I joined the Wings to Fly program in Form One. When I was in high school, I faced some challenges which led to my grades dropping in Form one and two. Dr. Mwangi sent me a success card with a letter encouraging me, in which he had written ‘I forgive you for the past laxity, forgive yourself and work on your studies’. These words motivated me and I regained my focus and power to sit KCSE. Today, I am part of the Equity Leadership Program, “he said.
An emotional Ann Alwala from Bunyore Girls Secondary, who scored an A- in her KCSE, could not contain her tears of joy as she told the story of her life. “After my KCPE results were released, I didn’t know my fate, I had noone. There was no hope, no future for me. But Equity Group came to my rescue through the Wings to Fly programme’.
Some ELP Scholars are working both locally and globally among them David Wainaina who went to Ashesi University and is working as a Technical Support Specialist at IBM Kenya.; Phoebe Akumu, who went to Harvard Business School and currently working at Open Capital Advisors -Nairobi;Doris Mwendwa Mbabu, who went to Williams College and is currently a Business Associate at Wellington Management, in Boston, USA, among others. The Program has also produced a team of 5 doctors who have spearheaded the launch of Equity Afia clinics in Nairobi and its environs with plans to expand the franchise into other parts of Kenya.