From education to employment

Portfolio careers rise as pandemic drives attitudes to work

New research from the Department for Education has revealed the appetite for having more than one job at a time is growing. The so-called ‘portfolio career’ continues to rise in popularity, with 37% more people having a portfolio career now versus before the pandemic (31%), with a further one in four employed adults (26%) revealing they would consider now or in the future. The research comes as the Department for Education calls for even more professionals to take up a part-time or flexible further education teaching role and share their industry expertise and skills alongside their current job.

When asked about starting a portfolio career, 22% of respondents revealed a main driver for this decision was a desire to do something different, and 17% want to train or learn something new. Further education teaching offers an opportunity for professionals seeking a change to their working lives, with part-time and flexible roles available and the opportunity to start earning straight away and train on-the-job.

The research also revealed the top factors that appealed to employed adults about portfolio careers, which included the variety of the work (38%), the opportunity to expand your skill set (32%), and the chance to work in different settings (29%). Further education teaching does just this – allowing professionals to apply the skills and experience they’ve gained through years working in industry, whilst learning new skills at the same time. 

There is particular demand for skilled professionals to share their experience in their respective sector through becoming a further education teacher. The sectors in top demand for teaching are Health and Social Care, Construction, Engineering and Manufacturing, Legal, Finance, Accounting and Digital/IT – with opportunities on offer for industry professionals to share their knowledge and help equip learners with the practical, career-focused skills to prepare them for work.  

Industry professionals looking to take up a portfolio career can teach their trade, skill or subject in further education teaching. Further education is primarily for learners aged 16+ and includes study that takes place after secondary school, for example in colleges or with training providers, but outside of a higher education institution. There are many unique benefits to further education teaching including:

  • Professional experience is highly valued and can be used to make a real difference to learners’ careers
  • Part-time and flexible roles are available, meaning you can continue your career in industry alongside further education teaching
  • You could start earning straight away and do funded training ‘on-the-job’
  • You don’t always need a degree or teaching qualification to get started 

David Love is Assistant Director of Apprenticeships & STEM at Warrington and Vale Royal College. David first became a Further Education teacher as part of a portfolio career, David said:

“I decided to try teaching Electrical installation part time in a further education college whilst I ran my electrical business. It was so simple to get started – I was able to start earning and teaching straight away using the skills I had from industry. I could train on the job and had a mentor at the college to support me.

“It was incredible to see the reaction of the students – they really valued the real life stories and experience I could share from my own work in electrical installation. There’s nothing as rewarding as seeing the ‘penny drop’ when you’ve helped them grasp a new skill.

“So after a year, I switched into teaching at the college full time. There’s so many different subjects and courses in further education. If you want to use the experience you’ve already gained throughout your career to inspire the next generation, then I’d encourage you to see if there’s a further education teaching job near you to match your skills.”

Helen Tupper, Co-founder & CEO of Amazing If and author of The Squiggly Career said,

“There is no one-size fits-all version of a ‘successful’ career and portfolio careers give people freedom and flexibility to try different careers to get what they need from work. They help people to develop and demonstrate skills in different settings, expand their network and accelerate their learning. Deciding to teach your current profession by including Further Education teaching as part of a portfolio career is an excellent way to make the most of existing expertise whilst trying something new, and can also increase people’s sense of purpose, increasing their happiness at work over the long-term.”

To find out more about becoming a further education teacher and the next steps to take, visit:

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