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Nesta Forms Coalition to Improve Job Prospects for Those Hit Hardest by COVID

The Big Issue Group, Do it Now Now, and Youth Fed have been revealed as the first organisations to join Nesta’s Rapid Recovery Network. Each of these three not-for-profits leading the charge will receive philanthropic support from JPMorgan Chase to help them meet their targets.

The newly formed network is tasked with supporting the Rapid Recovery Challenge – a £3m Challenge funded by Nesta with support from JPMorgan Chase, the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It focuses on supporting and scaling solutions from 14 organisations and charities which improve the job prospects and financial situation of those in the most precarious positions due to COVID-19, including young people and marginalised groups. Nesta’s ambition is to reach one million people by 2023 and the Rapid Recovery Network is crucial to reach this goal.

The innovative solutions that the coalition will raise awareness of include tools that help entry-level candidates access job opportunities, make identifying and matching skills easier, and make job searches more tailored to the needs of individuals, including marginalised groups such as disabled people, young people and homeless individuals. Other tools use smart data and open banking technologies to help individuals manage money, access responsible credit and benefits, and smooth income.

Tris Dyson, Managing Director, Nesta Challenges, said“While the end of lockdown may be in sight, the impacts of long Covid on the economy and people’s jobs and finances are still to be felt. Innovative solutions designed with people at their core are what we need right now to help people recover. The Rapid Recovery Challenge solutions have been selected by leaders in the field as well as tested extensively with individuals but we now need to get these tools into people’s hands without delay. With the support of our Rapid Recovery Network, we hope to reach one million people by 2023, and we hope more organisations will join us in this mission.”

It’s well known that the economic impact of COVID-19 is hitting some groups of society particularly hard, including those in low paid work, younger workers and those in insecure roles, such as gig workers or those on temporary contracts. Previous research from Nesta found 35% of gig economy workers, freelancers, and people in temporary or zero-hour contracts said their finances suffered in the November 2020 lockdown, as did 41% of 18-24-year-olds – both higher than the 30% national average. Meanwhile half (49%) of all people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds said they were terrified about their financial future – compared to 32% of people from white backgrounds.

To meet the size of the problem across the UK, Nesta is calling for more organisations to join the Rapid Recovery Network. It is looking for organisations who have direct access to individuals and communities who have been hit hard by the pandemic and could use some support with access to jobs as all as assistance managing their finances. Nesta hopes to engage with organisations from a wide variety of sectors and industries to reach as many people as possible – from banks and supermarkets, to housing associations and food banks. The learnings and experience of the members of the Rapid Recovery Network will also feed into policy recommendations Nesta will be producing at the end of the Challenge.

Hang Ho, Head of Global Philanthropy EMEA and LATAM, J.P. Morgan said: “COVID-19
has exacerbated structural barriers to opportunity for youth, low-paid workers and other people in underserved communities. At JPMorgan Chase, we are committed to advancing an inclusive recovery by collaborating with government and community leaders, and collaboration with organisations like Nesta to identify innovative solutions for economic opportunity are a key component of this work.”


  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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