6 ways to get finance and careers help as covid restrictions ease

Getting money and careers help is top of the agenda for many people as the pandemic situation improves, so here are some ways to get started.

Coronavirus restrictions might be lifting but we’re not out of the danger zone yet. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs when the pandemic started and millions more were forced to go on furlough.

Making ends meet has been tough, and there is still work to do. But there are lots of organisations out there whose mission it is to help.

Nesta, an organisation which funds new and innovative projects in the UK and works with The Big Issue on our Ride Out Recession Alliance, has announced six finalists in its Rapid Recovery Challenge which all work to support marginalised groups.

Tris Dyson, managing director of Nesta Challanges, said: “There is an urgent need to get people back into work as soon as possible and prevent this becoming entrenched with all the mental and financial consequences that job insecurity brings. The Rapid Recovery Challenge’s goal is to help people find new work and work towards a positive financial future.”

Backed by JP Morgan Chase and the Money and Pensions Service, Nesta will provide £150,000 of funding to each of the finalists to turbocharge their work.

“While we have seen numerous innovations that aim to support those whose jobs and money have been impacted by the current crisis, we need to ensure that the solutions can reach those who need them most – quickly,” added Dyson. “We will be supporting the six finalists to scale their solutions at speed so they can reach and support as many people as possible, which in turn will provide both financial and job stability for many.”


Beam: For training, fundraising and support

Beam started out as a way for people experiencing homelessness to get back into work, but now the organisation is determined to take on the post-Covid employment crisis. 

Beam staff help people who are looking for work to set up a fundraising page to pay for training they might need for a job as well as giving them support to see the training through.

Monnae spent some of her youth in the care system and wanted to get into teaching so she could help other children who might have had similar difficult experiences. She managed to raise nearly £1,000 to get training as a youth worker and now helps people at risk of similar struggles.

It helped me gain back control of my ife and helped me know what to do now,” she said.

Evenbreak: Careers advice for disabled people 

“When you have a disability, a lot of the schemes that are available and open that are  obvious are quite patronising,” said Natasha, a user of Evenbreak’s “career hive”. 

“They’re not really geared to doing what you want, it’s more what you’ll fit into.”

Evenbreak’s founders recognised this issue early on and created an online hub to give careers advice to disabled people, delivered by those who have experienced similar challenges.

“It can be anything from ‘can you have a quick look at this CV because I’m applying for a job to i have no idea what career I want or what my skills are,” said Jane Hatton, Evenbreak’s founder and chief executive.

“The feedback we’ve had from candidates is that they’ve never really seen this before.”

Hastee: For instant access to your pay

Ever been frustrated that you’ve earned your wages but won’t see it for weeks? Hastee wants to change that. The app let’s people cash out their earnings on demand and provides free tips and advice for users between the ages of 16 and 24.

“We’re revolutionising the way people get paid to improve their financial health,” said Hastee’s founder and chief executive James Herbert. “We do that by giving them immediate access to their money as they earn it and providing tools and education to help people better manage and control their finances.”

Maria moved from Venezuela to Bournemouth but struggled with going on furlough from her job in a bar when the pandemic struck. She said Hastee had helped her keep track of her finances through the difficult period.

“Everyone has the right to cash out their wages before the end of the month,” she added.

Turn2us: For finding charitable grants

Turn2us research has shown 11 million people are in a financially precarious situation because of Covid-19, and turn2us want to do something about this.

It’s not just the government who offer financial grants or payments for people who are struggling. All number of charities and organisations exist to offer support to people and turn2us makes the process easier for both parties, connecting people who are looking for support with companies in a smoother way online.

Claire, from Edinburgh, lost her job before Christmas and struggled to find work on top of looking after her two kids. Through turn2us she said she was able to get a grant to help pay off some of her debts and give her breathing space.

“It was literally two weeks from start to finish,” said  Claire. “You’ve got absolutely nothing to lose.”

IncomeMax: For identifying money and support services

Most people don’t realise the levels of money and services they’re entitled to, and every year billions of pounds in means-tested benefits and grants go unclaimed.

The IncomeMax online platform allows anyone to speak to a trained adviser and see what they’re missing out on.

“When every other light was switching off this was the shining light,” said Raije, an IncomeMax user. 

“They’re always honest with me and open with me and… it just shortens the road to the goal you want to achieve.”

Udrafter: For students and recent graduates

Finishing university can be daunting, especially if you’re not sure how to get started in the world of work. Udrafter wants to connect students and graduates with companies who are looking for exactly their kind of skills.

The platform hosts “micro-internships” for students to get work experience and says it “removes the ‘who you know’ barriers to work experience and provides equal opportunities for all students”

“You learn how to talk to so many different people and feel a lot less scared about it,” said Josie, who found an internship after her digital marketing degree. “Udrafter helps you overcome that fear and helps you become a professional.”

The Big Issue is offering free training and job search help to anyone who needs it with our new RORA Jobs and Training Toolkit. Sign up to receive a free three-month digital subscription to The Big Issue, access to dozens of free or discounted online training courses and the ability to search hundreds of thousands of jobs.

If you are out of work or worried about work and looking for immediate, practical advice call The Big Issue Jobs helpline on 0204 534 2810 or email

Career tips and advice from our Jobs and Training series:


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