This Better Work helps you find direction for the next steps on your career journey
Make the next decision about your future on a firmer foundation of awareness and experience.
Relax! You don't need to choose your ONE life-long career now ...
Just your next steps
Avoid having to make your next career decision at the last minute with little knowledge or experience to guide you
This is not an instant online career quiz... Begin your journey early to get the most out of your time at school.
Explore our online adventures at your own pace, and let one of our career coaches help you along the way
"We are excited at the fresh, future focused approach of 'This Better Work'. What Andrew has developed is relevant, engaging and completely in line with modern career development approaches. This Better Work helps people understand their values, skills and passions, and find their unique place in a changing and challenging world.”
Ingrid van der Merwe, Head – Careers Advisory Service, University of Cape Town
DISCOVER YOUR PLAN X
THE GREAT MOUNTAIN COOKOUT
We'll guide you on a journey to find all the ingredients you need to create an exciting PLAN X - an experimental, working idea of what you'd love to do one day. This adventure is about creating a bunch of ideas of things you COULD do in the future - or even right now. Whether you have no ideas at all or if you've already got a pretty good idea, this course will help you imagine a bunch of new and exciting possibilities.
EXPLORE YOUR PLAN X
TURN PLAN X INTO PLAN A
This course will help you get the information and experience you need to turn your Plan X into Plan A. This is about homing in on all the things you COULD do to the thing you SHOULD do. We've got some tried and tested tools to help you home in on the best option to choose in your next big career decision - whether that's Grade 10 subject choices or what to apply for after school.
The idea behind This Better Work started with a Facebook post I shared back in 2015.
The United Nations had just launched their Sustainable Development Goals. I wondered how things might look if a students wondering what to do with their lives after school became inspired by one or two of these ideas. A few of us got together and came up with our own version of the SDG's - incorporating some ideas from the World Economic Forum, One.org and a few other organisations. We came up with our list of 16 Global Challenges - areas of critical importance to the well-being of our global community.
At the same time, during my experience as a youth worker in Cape Town I had seen how career guidance in high schools was not being done particularly well. Perhaps there was a job-shadow program, a few parents gave occasional 'career talks', and some advice on how to process an application to University. That seemed to be about it. To me it seemed that too many students were trying to make big career decisions at the last minute with very little information and experience to go on.
I wanted to change that.
I started designing a process through which students could begin a journey of discovering more about themselves and what's happening in the world around them. I wanted them to begin that journey early - in Year 8 or 9 - so that by the time came to make a decision that had consequences they would have gone through the process a few times - experimenting and learning along the way.
The idea of a using a range of different exercises to create a 'Plan X' seemed to offer a good way forward. Plan X would be one or more ideas of what an exciting future could look like - but open to change as new bits of information and experience came to light. Plan X would also help shape the things a student chose to work on in their school projects and assignments. In this way they could road test their ideas without having to do a whole lot of extra stuff.
At some point Plan X would become Plan A - but now it would be based on a bit more than a hopeful guess.
Over the years our process has evolved as we've road tested our ideas in schools and with individuals in South Africa and Australia.
Participants begin an online journey we've called the Great Mountain Plan X Cookout. At each waypoint on an adventure up a metaphorical mountain, participants collect the ingredients they need to cook up their Plan X. They look inward to their explore interests, skills and aspects of their personality. They also look outward to think about what the world needs most and engage with our 16 Global Challenges.
This is not a solo journey. Along the way students have a coach to guide them through some of the exercises and help them process what they discover.
Once a student has created one or more versions of a Plan X, the next step is to create a plan to test those ideas out, to see what sticks and what new discoveries emerge. The next journey is to develop Plan X so that it becomes a well-explored Plan A. This too is a process done with the help of a coach.
Our Sources and Support
As we assembled our career* guidance toolkit we have been fortunate to have the guidance and support of Dr Pete Hawkins at the Windmills Foundation in the UK. Windmills is associated with the University of Liverpool and has developed the successful STAR resource kit.
We are also fortunate to have the guidance and support of the UCT Careers Service team who are providing valuable input and feedback as we develop our resources.
* I'm really trying to find a better word than 'career'. Career implies this is all about what you do to earn a living, and that what you do now is likely to be a life-long thing. We're trying to help young people find meaningful things to do in all areas of their lives, recognising this is very likely to change as they navigate through their lives.
Our coaching is conducted under the supervision of Alison Newby who has an MSc in Management of Technology and Innovation in the Domain of Coaching. Alison is also accredited to administer the Insights Discovery Personality assessment and is a member of USB-ED visiting faculty.
Why ‘This Better Work’?
The name ‘This Better Work’ works on multiple levels…
Firstly, I’m convinced that we can help young people find ‘better work’ in their lives: work that is meaningful, satisfying and that enables them to earn a good living in a changing employment environment. This work may not be one set career you choose from school but a number of things you give your time to over the years.
Second, it seems to tap in to the anxiety faced by many teenagers and parents as they try and make career decisions that are often based on very little information, and that have significant financial implications. ‘This had better work!’ We want to help young people take their next career step off a solid platform of knowledge and experience – and with less anxiety.
Thirdly, there’s an urgent need to mobilise a generation of young people who will create innovative solutions to the many critical issues facing our global community. Whether it’s climate change, energy, inequality, sustainable use of natural resources, justice, education, healthcare, financial integrity or any number of other issues, our interventions in the next few decades had ‘better work’ too.
What’s our vision?
Frederich Buechner said our core human desires can mostly fit into three categories: identity, purpose and relationship. We all, he says, seek someone to be, something to do, and someone to love.
We believe more young people today are looking for that sense of meaning and purpose in their lives and career journeys. They are drawn to communities that are prepared to do whatever it takes to solve some big global challenges, and in so doing, help our planet thrive and help others enjoy better lives too.
Our vision is a generation of young people who enjoy full lives through having found meaningful, satisfying work that makes a lasting impact on the challenges faced by the global community.
Our mission is to provide a balanced, integrated career guidance program that helps young people grow in their self-awareness and understanding of the world around them. By partnering with local schools we help students find opportunities in their learning to discover and explore a wide range of career options.
It’s easy to fall in love with the GPS version of the universe. There, just ahead, after that curve. Drive a little further, your destination is almost here.
Of course, that’s not how it works. Not our careers, not our relationships, not our lives. You’ve always arrived. You’ve never arrived. Wherever you go, there you are. You’re never going to arrive because you’re already there.
There’s no division between the painful going and the joyous arriving. If we let it, the going can be the joyful part.
It turns out that arrival isn’t the point, it can’t be, because we spend all our time on the journey.
We understand the pressure many young people face in having to answer the question: ‘what will you do after school?’ We realise that in many cases it’s not about having to make a high-stakes choice in school about the ONE career path to follow.
Instead, we want to help you figure out who are and what you want to do with your life. We’ve put together an innovative process that will help you discover some key things about yourself and some of the ways you can make a difference in the world. Then we’ll help you create a plan to get valuable experience in a low-pressure environment to test out areas you’re interested in. When the time comes to make a big decision, you’ll have some good information and experience to work with.
Andrew Vaughan is the lead developer of the This Better Work project. Andrew has 21 years experience in part and full-time youth work in multiple contexts including Johannesburg, Cape Town, the UK, and Vancouver, Canada.
Andrew established The Youth Hub in 2013 as a way to provide youth and youth workers with resources that help young people lead full lives in multiple ways. Recent Youth Hub projects include a study into the digital lives of South African teenagers, development of an innovative social media messaging platform, and a series of resources guiding teens in their spiritual development.
Andrew began his career as a Mechanical Engineer working in the aerospace industry. Andrew is also a licensed glider pilot, keen adventure motorcyclist, and self-taught motorcycle mechanic. In his spare time Andrew runs a Cape Town-based adventure motorcycle touring company Ride Down South.
We'd love to hear from you. If you'd like to find out more about what we can offer or book a session please fill out the form below.
You can also email Andrew at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or phone: +27 79 6977110