A psychologist by training, Barrie was Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Lifeskills International. Beginning in 1978 as an educational publishing company pioneering the use of open learning in schools and business the company developed into being specialists in improving organisational performance through aligning human resource management to business goals. It was perhaps best known for its consultancy services and learning materials for delivering outstanding customer service, employee development, competency based performance management, culture change programmes, learning delivery systems and career management programmes.
Barrie was invited to set up the Counselling and Career Development Unit at Leeds University in 1975 and was its first Director until 1984. He was one of the pioneers of careers education in schools and wrote the first 2 books on the subject in the UK.
He has written 39 books and numerous articles on personal and career development, quality service, life transitions and change management, generic training skills, marriage and Lifeskills teaching.
His best known books are:
- Build Your Own Rainbow
- Transition: Understanding and Managing Personal Change
- 12 Steps to Success Through Service
- The Rainbow Years: The Pluses of Being 50+
- the series of 'Lifeskills Teaching' Programmes
- the textbook on 'Lifeskills Teaching'
His last book, co-authored with Katie Ledger: 'And What Do You Do? 10 Steps to Creating a Portfolio Career', was published in October 2009. Further information, related blog posts and extra resources can be found at Portfoliocareers.net.
He was Chairman of Axia Interactive Media 2007-2013. He is a writer, presenter, consultant and has worked widely with commercial and educational organisations in the UK, USA, Asia, Canada and Europe.
He co-authored an online learning programme for Learndirect in 2008 designed to help people discover the pluses of being 50+.
One of his latest projects involved developing a new online learning programme to help people design a retirement that they love. It was launched with Aviva in November 2016.
He is currently an investor and mentor at Five-a-Dale, a new company dedicated to eliminating childhood obesity.
He Chairs the national Quality in Career Standard Consortium Board which monitors the delivery and awarding of the Quality in Careers Standard award to schools and colleges. This is a voluntary position.
Barrie has recently been invited to consult on an excellent project funded by the Gulbenkian Foundation called the Transitions in Later Life project. About a dozen organisations around the UK and Ireland are experimenting with a variety of ways of helping people to plan their retirements and to deal with later life transitions. Really exciting programmes are being developed that will be the inspiration for many more initiatives.
He continues to deny accusations that he has ‘retired’ believing that the word is becoming increasingly meaningless! Instead he is involved in projects that will help people of all ages to design a portfolio life for themselves.
He sees one of the payoffs of his portfolio life as being able to follow Yorkshire County Cricket Club. He adores running and runs 10k, 10 mile and half marathons for the Stroke Association, as for 7 years he has been a carer for his stroke survivor wife. Because of this he is very motivated to explore ways in which carers can develop the life skills required to help them in that role but also to ensure that they can lead a life which is highly motivational for themselves.
He plans to do his first full marathon next year to celebrate his 75th birthday, has just taken up Pilates and plans to learn Latin American dancing, especially the Argentine Tango. A portfolio life allows you to do all of this!
Barrie's entire career has been motivated to help people to become architects of their own futures.