"I love Your First Year of Work - A Survival Guide. Every college and university should have this book, in numbers, in their libraries, bookstores, and Career Centres.” - Prof Jonathan Jansen, Rector UFS



I have more than 30 years’ experience in the media and communications industry; serving as editor, writer and writing training strategist across media platforms. My first book – Your First Year of Work – A Survival Guide was published in August 2013 and is now considered the go-to book for anyone embarking on their working life.

In May 2014 I gave up the salaried security of nine-to-five to teach young people the skills that I wrote about in Your First Year of Work. I now present countrywide workshops and discussion groups to teachers, scholars, students, graduates, interns and new employees. 

My workshops include a combination of conversation, debate, role-play, games and interaction.

I encourage every participant to share their opinions, fears and points of difference. Everyone has something of value to contribute, especially the quiet ones.

I believe there is no such thing as a stupid question; I encourage participants to question anything – and everything – they might not understand, or might disagree with.

I understand that workshops can be hard work for participants; energising breaks, thought breaks and refreshment breaks are all integral to the programmes.

I use plain language and – where necessary – explain new terms, words and concepts.

I share my knowledge with compassion and humility. I always leave a workshop knowing that I have been not only the teacher, but the student. 

My clients include Deloitte, Standard Bank, MAD Charity, Great Girls, University of Freestate, King Edward VII school and the iThemba Bridging Programme.

I hold an Associateship in Speech and Drama (Teachers) with Trinity College London and was voted winner of the Voice of Africa short story competition in 2008. I am currently co-writing my second book, Your First Year of Varsity/College, with writer, Rhodes Mandela Scholar and thought-leader Lehlohonolo Mofokeng

When I find the time, I cook, read, write, go for long walks and share my mission to change the world – with anyone who will listen. First and foremost, I am a mother who wants the best for her children – and for all children.

 ‘Shelagh Foster's presentation to undergraduate students at the University of the Free State was one of the best
I had ever witnessed. In preparing young people for the world of work she was utterly professional in her approach; mixing humour,
common sense and evidence to both inform and inspire students
who were anxious about stepping out of the
comforts of campus life to start their first jobs. 

‘I learnt a lot from Ms Foster and we have started discussions about how to include her book, and her thinking, in our work on campus and careers.’ – Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector UFS.

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