I’ve been out of the country for the last couple of weeks which means that I’ve been a bit slow off the mark with all things general election. However, I’m pretty excited about this election and am looking forward to playing my part. So I thought that I might try and review the manifestos from a careers point of view.
First up the snappily titled Strong Leadership, A Clear Economic Plan, A Brighter, More Secure Future from the Conservatives.
Weighing in at 84 pages, the Conservatives’ manifesto is a substantial document. I’m going to confine my comments to the bits that directly focus on education and careers (although as I’m often keen to point out everything is really about careers). So scanning through a few pages about reducing the deficit, building rail links and creating a “Northern Powerhouse” (which I think is an acknowledgements of the continuing north/south divide), we arrive on p.17 with a sections entitled Jobs for All.
Jobs for all promises full employment (including “abolishing” long-term youth unemployment”) through cutting red tape, lowering tax, boosting apprenticeships and investing in science and technology. On youth unemployment this boils down to continuing to develop the idea of bringing Jobcentre advisers into schools (to do what?) and increasing benefit conditionality. Outside of this there aren’t really any new ideas about employment other than trusting Conservative economic policy to work its magic on the labour market.
Moving on past benefit scroungers and immigrants we get to the education section. Again there is little new here. Lots of stuff about standards, PISA, academisation and some bizarre stuff about the teaching of Mandarin. Further education is glossed over quickly and there are no new announcements on higher education (although they promise loans for postgraduates). Finally there is a promise of 3 million new apprenticeships although no detail on how this will be achieved.
And that’s it. Nothing about the new careers company, the National Careers Service or anything else careers related. To be honest there is very little new in it at all.
They seem to be saying “you know us, you know what we do, we’ll give you more of the same if you elect us again”.
And my guess is that they would.