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Lord Bird, Founder of The Big Issue (@BigIssue), launched a new jobs and training service for those experiencing joblessness in the midst of the pandemic. 

The Big Issue has teamed up with leading job’s board Adzuna and online training organisation FutureLearn to create the Ride Out Recession Alliance Toolkit, an action plan to help those dealing with all that unemployment brings.

The Toolkit will offer a three months free digital subscription to the magazine, access to free or discounted training including a 20% discount off selected course upgrades with FutureLearn, who offer online learning across healthcare, digital skills, business and career-focused learning, with world-class universities and industry experts. 

On the site people will also be able to search through hundreds of thousands of jobs for the right role and access tips and advice on how to land your next job.

For every job that is filled or every training course that is completed a percentage of net proceeds will be reinvested to help more people find work at a time of crisis. 

The move is the latest innovation to come out of The Ride Out Recession Alliance (RORA), which was formed by Lord Bird and The Big Issue in the Summer of 2020.  

RORA, supported by partners including Deloitte, Movement to Work, Nationwide Building Society and The National Skills Agency, seeks to help the UK Government to implement preventative measures tackling homelessness and unemployment caused by the Covid 19 pandemic.

Lord John Bird, founder of The Big Issue, said:

“We set up RORA to aid and abet the Government and society to prevent mass homelessness caused by Covid-19 poverty. Talking about what is happening to the newly unemployed is no longer enough. 

“Now, with The RORA Toolkit, we have an action plan to directly benefit those who are dealing with unemployment. Because we appreciate that things are tough right now, we want to help those facing unemployment with discounted and free training and thousands of job opportunities, all in one place.”

“As an employer, using our Toolkit, you will know that your roles are reaching all parts of society, ensuring the ability to recruit for social kindness. As a candidate, you will know that you have access to jobs, advice, skills and training that meet your needs for today and for the future.”

Susannah Belcher, Chief Operations Officer at FutureLearn, said:

“The Ride Out Recession Alliance is a fantastic campaign that we are proud to support. We're on a mission to transform access to education in order to build a better future and, in partnership with The Big Issue, we're aiming to connect valuable, in-demand, courses with people who need the most support navigating the challenges of the current UK job market. 

“With hundreds of free, self-serve digital courses across high-growth sectors such as healthcare, coding and digital marketing, and softer skills such as communication, remote working and interview skills; learners can choose when, where and how they progress through the content, with the flexibility to learn at their own pace and the benefit of our unique social learning tools.”

Andrew Hunter, Co-Founder of Adzuna, said:

“We’re a huge advocate of The Big Issue’s campaign to help the unemployed and those at risk of becoming unemployed to upskill, gain confidence and find their next job. Worryingly, the recession has affected lower-paid workers most severely and supporting these groups is vital. We hope to share our tools and tips for Big Issue subscribers and work collaboratively to provide more routes into employment for the millions of people affected by the pandemic.”

In November, Lord Bird announced that Big Issue eBikes would launch in 2021. The new scheme will form part of RORA’s activities to support and re-train people to find new routes into employment and help people to grapple with the digital economy. 

Why are career changers the tech industry’s big opportunity to bridge the skills gap?

In partnership with QA, the UK’s leading tech skills organisation, Nationwide Building Society recently launched its own tech training programme to reskill employees from across the Society. By focusing on potential rather than proven tech skills, Nationwide was able to attract a large and diverse number of applicants.

The intensive 12-week training programme was then designed to meet the needs of Nationwide’s future vision while factoring in the diverse background of participants from early-career with IT qualifications to career-changers with no previous IT experience at all.

Through a blended approach of instructor-led training, group work and digital content, the training programme allowed everybody to progress, setting a great example of what companies can currently do to attract, foster and nurture the next generation of top talent.

Career changers are an untapped resource for tech employers and the tech industry offers unique opportunities for people who want to pivot their careers, despite the impact of Covid-19.

With IT set to receive a boost in investment, the demand for tech skills is likely to also rise. As such, there is a growing opportunity for those looking to make a career change and employers need to act fast to secure that talent.

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