PanAAC Student Intern Programme (PSIP) is an internship programme initiated by PanAAC that links the Universities and the Private Sector. The program offers students in Agribusiness and agricultural sciences in general an opportunity to be interned with the private sector through an elaborate mentorship programme.
PanAAC initiated the PSIP program with an aim of strengthening linkages between producers of technology, agricultural training institutions and agribusiness in order to make agricultural graduates, owners of business, employers and skilled and marketable professionals.
The program provides a learning approach that incorporates new methodologies and approaches that are demand-driven thus increasing the real, interactive participation of all parties at all levels of decision making through extension delivery network.
It achieves this by helping African university students and graduates to develop agribusiness and technologies with viable potential where students are given an opportunity to showcase their ideas and technologies to potential financiers, private sector partners and incubators as well as international institutions involved in technological research and development.
It has succeeded in bringing together agribusiness and agro industry value chain and support services to enable them access information, knowledge, strategic partnerships and financial remediation.
In collaboration with its partners PanAAC seeks to promote agricultural innovation and assist the universities to produce graduates with entrepreneurial, business skills and research –based knowledge that is relevant to the development of African agriculture and agribusiness.
PSIP is one amongst several programs that are being developed by PanAAC that reinforces and feeds into the UniBRAIN goals. The objectives of the programme are to:
1 Develop conceptualized agribusiness training that responds to the demands of the agribusiness and agro industry.
2 Enable the students obtain hands on experience and develop solutions on the real life situation.
3 Provide an opportunity for the students to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in class and obtain feedback on the impact of their interventions.
4 Enable the student meets part of the requirement for the completion of their Degree/Diploma course in Agricultural sciences discipline.
5 Provide the graduates with the necessary tools and experience to enable them responds to the ever evolving demands of the job market in the agribusiness industry.
Partners and beneficiaries
The PSIP programme was officially launched by the Chief Executive Officer of PanAAC, Mrs. Lucy Muchoki on 20th May 2011 at a ceremony held at Safari Park Hotel. The launch drew participants who included University Students, Mentors from the Private Sector and other partners.
The program involved the following categories of partners and beneficiaries:
2.0 Private sector
3.0 Public sector
4.0 Non- Government institutions
5.0 Stakeholders Higher learning institutions
6.0 Undergraduate students in both Private and Public universities undertaking:-
i. Agribusiness Management
ii. Agricultural Economics
iii. Farm Management.
iv. Dairy Technology.
The programme aimed at providing the student with the following: -
Practical employment and hands on experience.
An opportunity to apply/ test the theoretical knowledge gained in class in the field and evaluates their relevance and effectiveness in the field.
A chance to be introduced into the job market and an opportunity to familiarize with the challenges involved.
Enable the graduates to develop team playing, interpersonal and problem solving skills by interacting with people from different social backgrounds.
Get career guidance and professionalism in agricultural sciences.
An opportunity for the students to develop the right networks for employment and entrepreneurship.
The students are able to develop realistic business plans and cases based on the acquired experience.
Three private sector companies involved in development and supply of agricultural inputs and embedded services were selected for the mentorship program. The three companies have distinctive advantage in developing and promoting innovative products and have very well developed agribusiness and agro industry products.
Their product and service portfolios include product development, sales of planting materials, soil fertility, crop protection, irrigation etc. The partner agribusiness companies were:
Antipest (K) Limited,
Amiran Kenya Limited and
Bayer Crop Sciences.
The three companies with distinctive strengthens and philosophies assigned mentors that took the students through the internship/mentorship period.
The interns were drawn from Egerton University the pioneer Agricultural institution in Kenya.
The exercise involved selection of 20 suitable Agricultural Sciences students for the programme from Egerton University, through the universities internal process.
After formal induction of the students, they were attached to any of the three agribusiness companies. The companies then assigned mentors that guided the students throughout the whole internship period.
The three companies each had their unique activities and work plans for the internship. The interns however had the following common activities:
Study of the Host Company background information on, farmer visits, farmer field days, instruction by the mentors and government officials, evaluation by the mentors and the university lecturers, reports by the interns, mentors and the lecturers and finally feed back by the farmers.