Ivana Knyght, professional development and support services lead, Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS)Ivana Knyght leads the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s professional development and support service and I was fascinated to read an interview with her  in which she was explaining about the type of support her team offers members throughout their careers.

In my last blog post I was talking about how attractive the notion of a portfolio career is to GP’s and how they are getting more and more professional help to create one if this is what they want. And a few weeks later we read about the attractivenss of this career pattern to more and more pharmacologists.

She says :”We receive enquires from all sectors, but most enquiries are from community pharmacy, which probably reflects our membership base, as well as enquiries from hospital and primary care. I have also noticed that we receive a lot of enquiries from people wanting to switch from one sector to another. These days, more pharmacists than ever are interested in changing sectors and are more confident and empowered to build a portfolio career. The RPS Faculty has been fundamental to this because, for the first time as a profession, we are thinking of our practice in terms of competence and impact on the patient or the outcome and not just thinking, “what does my job description say I should do?”.

“We are seeing a lot of changes now, and many pharmacists work portfolio careers. This is great as it means that we have a mobile workforce, and with the current structure and landscape of the NHS that is very important. One of the roles of the RPS is to look at the workforce and ensure our programmes enable and support flexible professionals to adapt to changing care models and roles. We are in a better place than five years ago, but there is still a lot of work to do.

My message to pharmacists would be to always remember that they have so many choices career-wise, and that they can always make a career move. Being a pharmacist, in any sector, brings a breadth and depth of experience, expertise and competence that is transferable.”

This career pattern continues to attract followers in more and more occupations and professions.


I have written before about the increasing attraction of portfolio working to medical staff but there are now extraordinary developments.

The BMA has called on the Government to introduce ‘virtual’, chambers-style GP models in a bid to stop GPs leaving the profession.

It said the new working opportunity should draw on the locum chambers model, as well as NHS England’s existing GP ‘career plus’ retention pilot for over-55s.

The proposals, contained within the BMA’s response to a Health Education England proposals for a 10-year NHS workforce strategy, come as recent statistics showed full-time GP numbers had declined despite Government efforts to boost the workforce.

The BMA report said: ‘Recognising the trend amongst retirement age GPs to undertake portfolio careers, and the tendency for newly qualified GPs to undertake locum and sessional work, a virtual practice model could be developed that draws on elements of the GP chambers model and the success of the Somerset model from the GP Career Plus Scheme pilot.

‘This model would provide GPs with flexibility, control of their working life and the ability to experience a range of work (in and out of hours) across multiple practices and health providers.’

Somerset is one of 10 areas taking part in a £100,000 NHS England pilot aimed at improving GP retention. It sees participants employed to attend two educational sessions a month, organised by the LMC, which can cover any topic that group members feel would be helpful and are provided peer support.

The 12-month trial, which has been worked up with the RCGP, BMA and Health Education England, will look to recruit ‘up to 80 experienced GPs at risk of leaving the profession’ across 10 pilot areas.

NHS England said these GPs, aged between 55 and 59, could:

  • Provide clinical capacity for practices to cover: vacancies; annual leave; parental leave; and sick cover.
  • Carry out specific types of work e.g. long term conditions, access hub sessions, home visits.
  • Provide leadership through: clinical training, individual mentoring and coaching, innovation and change leadership, support for practices in crisis or in under-doctored areas.

NHS England willl evaluate the £1m scheme after six months, to ‘define a model to promote for further local use’.

Yet again more evidence of the attraction of portfolio working as more people realise that they actually enjoy doing more than one type of work.


Are portfolio careers more at risk with AI?

16 March 2018

 My guest contributor this month is John Hawthorn who argues strongly that so much of the discussion on work, careers and the future of work is not based on known facts. My take on this is that portfolio careers are better suited than traditional career patterns to cope with and even benefit from these developments. […]

0 comments Read the full article →

The Remote Working Model 2018

26 January 2018

Many portfolio career workers do remote work so I have pleasure in presenting a guest blog by Robert Wesley who is a specialist in this area. Remote work has been around for several decades under a myriad of different names. The eldest of these terminologies, “telecommuting”, was coined back in the ‘70s, while the more […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Portfolio Careers for Nurses

9 January 2018

Fascinating article by Kim Thomas on the massive changes in work life and career options for nurses today. She makes the point that a few years ago, most nurses could expect to spend their working life in a hospital. These days, England’s 281,000 nurses work in a variety of roles. Many support chronically ill patients […]

0 comments Read the full article →

‘Entrepreneurial You’

16 October 2017

My good friend Marianne Cantwell, the Free Range Human lady – wonderful book – contacted me recently as she was having lunch with her friend Dorie Clark in New York. (There are pluses to being a free range human!) She wanted me to know about Dorie’s new book which has been selling very well in […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Portfolio Careers and Millennials

15 August 2017

Stephen Clarke, Research and Policy Analyst at the Resolution Foundation has just produced a report that adresses this topic. It is fascinating as it blasts away at some of the stereotypes about millennials – those born in the 1980s and 1990s. This is the digital generation who supposedly are turned off the idea of a […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Portfolio Careers in Australia

8 August 2017

Fascinating article in the Herald Sun quoting research from Seek which found that  59 per cent of Australians regard flexible working arrangements as a top work perk. Flexibility is seen as a two-way relationship and employers are seeing flexibility as a key part of their value proposition to potential employees. The  Seek study revealed that […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Portfolio careers and the Taylor report?

12 July 2017

When Katie and I first wrote about portfolio careers most people had never heard of the expression including people who had one! Now it is ubiquitous and is a major topic when it comes to the changing nature of work and employment. The Middlesex University research that we quoted showed that the 60+ generation and […]

0 comments Read the full article →

What is my current portfolio career?

22 February 2017

I regularly get asked about my portfolio career and it does change quite a bit depending on when you ask! Some friends suggested that I describe my current collection rather than just writing in theory about it – so hear goes! This does sound just a bit egotistical but my good friend Professor John Hayes […]

0 comments Read the full article →