BCP Kenya: 80 Students Gain Firsthand Experience in Work World

A job shadowing program the Bata Children’s Program (BCP) Kenya carried out at Bata Kenya in Limuru was highly successful. On May 18 and 19, 80 high school students were given the opportunity to work alongside Bata employees, as an optimal way to open their eyes to professional environments.

BCP partnered with the non-profit organization Junior Achievement for this program. Junior Achievement is dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people for successful futures and inculcating in them a positive work ethic and spirit of entrepreneurship.

The participating students came from four local schools: Limuru Girls’ School, the Starehe Girls’ Centre, and Kanunga and Kiambu Boys’ Schools. BCP Kenya has longstanding relationships supporting the two girls’ schools.

Through BCP and the contribution of 25 employees who volunteered, Bata Kenya was able to host 40 students on each of the two days of job shadowing.

First, the students were given an overview of the company’s history, values, vision, mission, core activities and functions, as well as BCP.

Human resources manager Peter Giathi took the young people through various career paths available at the company and the general job market as it pertains to them. “It is important that you pursue careers that you have passion and love for,” he emphasized. “In this way, you will get joy, satisfaction and fulfillment in your professional lives.”

Product development manager Esther Kute called upon the students to utilize their time in school wisely, as education is the surest way to land a dream career. She encouraged them to gather as much knowledge as possible as they could put it to good future use.

The high school students were then given a guided tour of the factory, and they were very excited to see how shoes are made, especially the back-to-school articles like leather Toughees.

Afterward, the students were spread out among various departments. They were assigned to departmental managers who served as their mentor for the day and allowed the students to observe them as they went about their normal work day.

The students then had lunch with BCP volunteers before resuming job shadowing in the afternoon.

At the end of the day, the students gave their feedback. Most of them showed interest in working at the company when they complete their academic and professional studies.

Ruth Siriba, a participating student from Limuru Girls’ School, conveyed her group’s appreciation for the job shadowing program. “Personally, I have received great career guidance, and I am leaving with new mentors. We hope to come back one day as professionals and be part of the company’s productive workforce. Specifically, I hope to be a designer in the product development department. I really loved the experience.”

Participating employees, for their part, were also positive about the experience. “What a team of budding entrepreneurs!” leather factory manager Stephen Gichuki commented. “Their intelligence levels are also high. The future of our nation is surely bright.”

BCP volunteers will mentor the students at their schools as a follow up to the program.