Friday, 5 November 2010

Barriers to Work Wall

An exercise I often use with groups of all ages is to identify barriers to work. I've found that the easiest way to do this is with the Barriers to Work Wall.

A good starting point for anyone who is looking for work is to identify the barriers they face (both perceived and real) as well as the barriers faced by others in similar situations. The main purpose of this exercise is to stimulate discussion on the topic of barriers and, as a group, identify possible ways of overcoming those barriers.

I use a flip chart and Post-It notes for this exercise. Using a flip that shows the Barriers to Work Wall, I ask the group to write barriers on Post-Its that serve as bricks in the wall. These barriers can be their own or those faced by others.

Pretty soon you'll have a wall of barriers. These might include "long-term unemployment", "travel", "lack of qualifications", "age", "disability", "lack of experience" and "lack of motivation". I'm sure your clients will think of many more!

The next step is to remove the barriers one by one. Get the group to discuss how barriers can be overcome. Don't expect all the barriers to be removed because that is unrealistic, but what you will end up with is a much smaller wall that can be stepped over rather than a big, impassable one.

This activity usually takes around 30 minutes and works best during the early stages of a course or training session. It helps clients realise they are not the only ones facing barriers and, better still, it identifies ways in which their barriers can be overcome.

Visit Gary Bedingfield Training Services website at