COVID-19 is turning from a health crisis into an economic catastrophe, says the UK based Nesta. With the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention scheme closing at the end of October, the coming labour market shock will be unprecedented in scale and there is a major risk of people being unable to meet housing or food costs and falling into debt.
Navigating the labour market will be challenging, especially for people in insecure and low-paid employment. Despite the emergence of a range of online products and services, some basic needs – like matching people to training and education courses that provide the best return – are not being met.
Further, although a range of financial services already exist to support vulnerable families, the scale and accessibility of these services are out of kilter with what is now required.
To stimulate innovation in these fields, Nesta launched the Rapid Recovery Challenge – a new £2.8 million challenge prize seeking scalable ways of giving vulnerable workers better access to jobs and financial help in the wake of COVID-19.