Internships In Nigeria And Why It Is Important For Undergraduates

Internships in Nigeria have been likened to modern-day slavery, especially in Nigeria. This is amidst many other bad comments from those who have gone through the process. And witnessed what it is like to be an intern in a Nigerian organization. Internships have been an opportunity for organizations to make use of their interns in an unprofessional way by asking them to do things that shouldn’t be done. Such as sending them on errands, transferring too many workloads on them, and assigning jobs meant for janitors to them.

Internships in Nigeria

While these have discouraged people from applying for internship roles, it is important to note that internships are quite important and can set anyone on the right career path.

Internships have played a significant role in the professional development of most individuals in today’s workforce. As interns, they learn the practices, norms, and procedures of their respective industries and gain ample experience to kick-start their careers in the best way possible. Therefore, it is not uncommon for professionals to have started their careers as interns. With the rate of unemployment set to hit 37% this year, and Nigerian universities keep graduating around 500,000 graduates annually. The rate of unemployment will continue to be on an upward trajectory and the labor market will become tighter for those in it. Only those
who can prove beyond doubt that they are adequately skilled and capable of the job description will be hired.

In today’s corporate world, organizations prioritize skilled and experienced applicants over those with excellent grades or certifications. This is because hiring experienced individuals saves time and resources. Inexperienced applicants require training and time to adapt to the organization’s culture, values, and processes. Whereas experienced individuals can fit seamlessly into the system, like a “plug and play” situation. Therefore, having relevant experience from internships or previous jobs can make a significant difference in getting hired by a company.

Here are a few reasons why internships will be a great opportunity for a lot of Nigerian undergraduates;

Why Is Internship Important?


Many Nigerian students have entered the workforce believing that the theoretical knowledge they acquired in school would be enough to succeed, only to realize that they lacked practical skills. This is where internships can be invaluable. By spending time with business professionals as an intern, you can learn from their experience and develop practical skills that are essential in the workplace.

Vulnerability And Potential For Experiments:

One advantage of being an intern is that you are treated like the last child of the family. And are the only one who can make errors and get away with it. As an intern, you have a lot more leeway to make mistakes, miscalculations, poor decisions, and other errors than a full-time employee would.

Possibility Of Working Full-time:

Internships can also provide a pathway to full-time employment, as many successful individuals in prominent companies started out as interns. In Nigeria, where job opportunities are limited, starting as an intern can be a smart strategy to secure a position in a top company. If you can impress your managers or supervisors with your effectiveness and efficiency during your internship, you may receive an offer for full-time employment upon its conclusion. However, it’s essential to demonstrate your potential and willingness to learn and contribute to the company to increase your chances of success.

Possibility To Discover New Skill Or Passion:

Another advantage of internships is the possibility of discovering new skills or passions. Internships offer opportunities to gain experience in various fields, not just those related to your academic program. You may find yourself changing career paths or exploring new interests if you become interested in a specific department during your internship. By learning how different departments function and earning relevant online certificates, you can develop skills and knowledge that can help you transition into a new field.

How To Get Internships in Nigeria

Unlike a job, getting an internship opportunity in Nigeria is easier depending on the type of internship you’re looking forward to, paid or unpaid. Unpaid internships are the easiest to get as the organization doesn’t have to worry about any financial obligations. They’ll gladly offer an internship opportunity to whoever is willing as that will help increase their productivity at no cost.

The other option, paid internship might be a little bit difficult to get as only a handful of organizations in Nigeria pay their interns. The organizations that pay their interns do that to support the interns in covering the fees they incur while showing up to work every day. What they pay might not be much, it’s just a little support.

If you want to secure an internship opportunity with an organization, whether paid or unpaid, you need to be willing to work dedicatedly, even if you don’t receive payment. While the idea of being an intern can be exciting, some people may become discouraged due to various reasons, including lack of payment.

However, whether or not you receive compensation, your main focus should be on working diligently throughout your internship. Once you’re ready to commit, the next step is to prepare your curriculum vitae (CV) and send a copy to the organizations you’re interested in. Don’t limit yourself to companies that advertise internships; many organizations may not realize they need interns until you approach them. In fact, they may appreciate your offer to provide service for little or no cost.

Therefore, try reaching out to as many organizations as possible. Additionally, consider talking to people who already work in those organizations, as they can help connect you with the right people.


We’ve looked at the importance of internships for career development, despite negative experiences reported by interns in Nigeria. Note that experienced individuals are preferred in today’s corporate world. And internships provide an opportunity for students to gain practical skills and experience. Don’t also forget that internships offer the possibility of discovering new skills or passions. It provides a pathway to full-time employment. So whether you’re an undergraduate or a fresh graduate, start looking out for internship opportunities to get you ready for your career journey.

Durotimi Aribisala

Durotimi is a content writer who studied business but finds pleasure in writing. He's an observer, a reader and good listener which makes it easy for him to write just about anything. With over five years of experience, Durotimi have been able to write across different beats such as entertainment, technology, sports, finance, etc.