3S: Sifting-Shaping-Sharing Alternative Career Counseling Method and Program

The 3S Method enables and inspires brainstorming about alternative, more creative and social career paths through the stages of bread-making.

1.Sifting: Skill assessment
2.Shaping: Skill learning
3. Sharing: Skill practice

Sifting-Shaping-Sharing (The 3 “S”) is an innovative career counseling tool, where the stages of bread-making become useful metaphors to help people rethink their lives and come up with new ideas of alternative career and personal paths. People of either 1) similar background (peers; students; professional team; community organization; etc.) or 2) from diverse backgrounds in order to foster cross-pollination of ideas and skills come together around one table – a true “roundtable” not only of verbal discussions but also of hands-on doing – and they engage in collective bread-making.

The method is particularly suited for young people searching for career paths, as well as professionals seeking creative ideas and inspiration for their professional realization in all spheres, but in particular in the social, non-for-profit sphere. The method can be applied in group discussions on career options and projects; in team work and team-building sessions; in community organizations brainstorming and organization of local initiatives; etc.

At each one of the three main stages of bread-making – sifting, shaping, and sharing – the participants take on three different roles, that we have selected building on the model designed by Walt Disney in his creative team – the roles of dreamer, critique, and realist. These roles allow people to measure the created ideas from various perspectives and “knead” and shape them in the most constructive and plausible way in order to turn them into viable alternatives. The key third section, the “sharing” of the baked bread (which takes places if an oven is available in close proximity), creates a unique sense of comfort, support, and community, thus truly giving people the needed self-esteem and confidence that an alternative path is possible.


The Sifting-Shaping-Sharing (The 3 “S”) Method for brainstorming career paths was presented at the “Method Market Place” part of the Austrian National Euroguidance Conference 2013 in Vienna. The 3 “S” Method offered to the conference focus on face-to-face counseling for school career counselors and social workers helping immigrants as an innovative approach based on action and collective, co-creative doing rather than the standard discussion-based methods. After the Vienna Conference, the Bread Houses Network was invited to run a training of trainers/guidance professionals in Salzburg in March 2014.

The 3 “S” Method has already been tested and proven highly successful and growing in popularity in high-schools and career guidance conferences across Bulgaria as a product of the cooperation between the Bread Houses Network and the National Center for Human Resource Development.

The 3 “S” Method is particularly useful for enabling young people to brainstorm and consider as a viable option alternative, creative careers, in the field of the arts, culture, social work, ecology, social entrepreneurship, etc. The method takes students and their professors, as well as sometimes students’ parents, if suitable, out of their original roles in society, and thus enables young people to dare dream and express their dreams, particularly to the often critical and more pragmatically-thinking parents and educators. The playful essence of the method also allows young people to escape peer pressure limiting their visions and dreams. The key strength to the method for career guidance is that it mixes playfulness and the potential for thinking freely as a child with deep reflections, inspired by the inter-disciplinary, imaginative and creative way of thinking generated by the method for its use of images and symbols expressed in the edible bread shapes representing each person’s idea and/or dream for the future.





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