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He Got 3 Jobs With 20 Seminar Certificates and No College Education

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File: Participants showcase their certificates. Short term training certificates may prove more valuable than you think.
File: Participants showcase their certificates. Short term training certificates may prove more valuable than you think.

Given the choice between time and money, some people would choose the latter. After all, if you have enough money, you can certainly make the time to enjoy it. There are a few select individuals who happen to have both and one of them can teach you how to do the same.

Kenneth Kibaru has never been to college. He has participated in leadership workshops, taken a 4-day course in Management, attended more than 15 seminars and received Certificates for each and every one of these projects. As far as he can tell, the last time he saw the four walls of an orthodox classroom was when he left Secondary school in 2007.

Since then, he has worked as a tour guide at Paradise Lost, a Clerk at Essar Telecom and a Store Manager for one of Tassells Dairy Plant’s partners in Ruiru. He says that he was waiting to go to college when he got his first job offer in May of 2008.

“I wasn’t about to quit after one year in the field,” he remembers. “I had a job so school became unnecessary.” He considered going to the Nairobi Aviation College to study Business Communication but changed his mind when he realized that it would take almost 4 years before he had any papers to show for it. “You can get a promotion in 4 years,” he retorts.

He left the tour job for a bigger pay scale at Essar. He couldn’t get a promotion without academic papers so he started attending Leadership seminars. He later heard of a job offer from Tassells that required someone with a Diploma. “They wanted someone with 2 years’ experience,” he recalls, noting that he had none to begin with. “I showed them my Certs and they were impressed.”

The Cost of a Quick and Convenient Education

The workshops Kenneth attended were not free. One Seminar on Leadership and Governance cost him KES 65,000 but only lasted 4 days. He received a Certificate at the end of the programme. Meanwhile, a similar Management course at the Nairobi Aviation College would have cost him KES 36,000 but it would have taken him an entire year to complete.

A 2-day course for Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) at the Meridian Hotel cost him KES 30,800. He says that the same course can last up to one month at the Institute of Advanced Technology (IAT) and costs about KES 26,000.

He says that the Leadership Certificate got him an interview with Tassells in 2012, which led to his current position as Store Manager. So far he has a total of 21 Certificates, though most of them are for participating in social events like charity runs and planting seedlings.

Expect to be Rejected

It hasn’t been easy though. Kenneth has faced rejection more often than not. “I sent my CV to Safari Club but they didn’t get back to me,” he recalls. He applied for a job with Radio Africa but they told him they weren’t hiring. He also left copies of his CV at offices in Anniversary Towers and none of them has since received a reply.

His struggle has not been in vain. “I got a call to work for AMREF,” he muses, mentioning that he rejected their offer because their offer was too low. If he didn’t have the papers, he wouldn’t have a job and would therefore be forced to take AMREF’s insufficient offer.

Kenneth has learned that education does not need to be a long and linear process. He has discovered that you sometimes have to spend money to save time.

“Let people know you’re proactive,” he says. “What they want is your skills, not your Degree.”

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