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Lord Bird, Founder of The Big Issue, launches Jobs and Training Service for those facing unemployment in wake of Covid-19 crisis

  • Latest development in The Big Issue’s “Ride Out Recession Alliance” backed by Deloitte, Movement to Work, Nationwide Building Society and The National Skills Agency
  • “The Ride Out Recession Toolkit” will offer those who are unemployed or at risk of becoming unemployed access to free and discounted online training, free digital access to the magazine and an enhanced job search tool


Today (Monday 18th January) Lord Bird, Founder of The Big Issue, 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.


For more information, visit


About The Big Issue


  • The Big Issue is a social enterprise whose mission is to deliver a world that works for everyone. Creating and offering self-help and sustainable business solutions that dismantle poverty now and for future generations


  • The Big Issue is an award-winning weekly entertainment and current affairs magazine, which offers a new hope for homeless and vulnerably housed people across the UK. When vendors are able to sell, they buy magazines for £1.50 and sell to the public for £4, keeping the difference. In this way the magazine provides them with the means to earn a legitimate income.


  • Vendors come from a variety of backgrounds and face a range of issues, but all are experiencing the effects of poverty. Upon becoming a Big Issue vendor they receive training, are allocated a fixed pitch from which to vend, and must agree to adhere to a code of conduct whilst selling the magazine.


  • Since its launch in 1991, over 200 million copies of The Big Issue magazine have been sold by over 100,000 vulnerable people.




About FutureLearn 

Here at FutureLearn, our purpose is to transform access to education. We do that by partnering with over a quarter of the world’s top universities to support millions of learners across the globe to develop skills and achieve their personal and professional goals. We’re a leading social learning platform founded in December 2012 by The Open University and are now jointly owned by The Open University in the UK and The SEEK Group. We use design, technology and partnerships to create enjoyable, credible and flexible short online courses and microcredentials, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. In addition to top universities, we also partner with leading organisations such as Accenture, the British Council, CIPD, Raspberry Pi and Health Education England (HEE), as well as being involved in government-backed initiatives to address skills gaps such as The Institute of Coding and the National Centre for Computing Education.


About Adzuna

Adzuna is a job search engine bringing over half a million job vacancies together into one place to make finding the right job easier. We do this in three ways: aggregating all the jobs on offer into one place (we index over 95% of job ads in Britain); helping jobseekers build their confidence, develop strong CVs and feel ‘battle ready’ with tools like ValueMyCV and CareerPaths; and providing data insights giving the inside scoop on who’s hiring, how much they pay, and where the jobs are.

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