The Green Party manifesto – a careers perspective

As part of my general election coverage I’m going to take on the Green Party manifesto today. As with the Lib Dem manifesto, I’m going to focus on the party’s policies on career guidance and related subjects.

Like a lot of other organisations in the progressive environmental movement, The Green Party have picked up the language of ‘the green new deal’, there is a lot more to say about this idea and its implications for career, but I’ll probably come back to that in a later post. For now I’ll focus in on the manifesto.

The Green Party offer a veritable brace of green new deals for… energy, housing, transport, industry, food, farming & forestry, incomes and other stuff. They also tackle Brexit, democracy, quality of life and taxation. All of these promises to make people’s lives better sit in the shadow of the ‘climate emergency’ which they argue gives a Green vote a special urgency.

Career guidance. The party has nothing to say about career education and guidance at all. It is clearly not a priority.

Schools. The party is committed to a change in philosophy in the education system. Moving away from competition towards nurturing and cooperation. They plan to do this by increasing school funding, scrapping Ofsted and trusting the teaching profession, returning schools to democratic local authority control, introducing climate education and improving music and sports education.

Vocational education. They will also increase funding for post-16 students in vocational education. They have nothing to say about apprenticeships or T-levels.

Adult education. They will increasing adult education funding and link training to the Green New Deal.

Higher education. They will scrap tuition fees and write off existing debt, and make HE less instrumentally focused on work preparation.

New jobs. The Green New Deal is a clever idea because it yokes together radical action to address climate change, with a jobs creation scheme. This is good because it moves the green movement away from the politics of austerity and self-denial and towards something that might actually make individuals’ lives better whilst they are averting climate disaster. This is an interesting idea, and there is clearly room here for more thinking about how individuals make the transitions from existing forms of work to the green economy. I would argue that career guidance is likely to have an important role to play in this.

Universal basic income. One of the most interesting policies that they offer is the introduction of the universal basic income. While this isn’t directly about careers policy its implications for career would be massive as it opens up the possibility of divorcing work from pay in a way that could be quite revolutionary. Again career guidance would have a big role in helping people to think about how they deal with this new freedom.

There is lots to like in the Green Party’s manifesto. They unsurprisingly take climate change seriously and have a set of broad and progressive policies. Unfortunately they are very short on details on lots of the issues that exercise me. Their education policy is a bit threadbare and they don’t have anything to say about career guidance or vocational education. The desire to reconnect higher education with its liberal roots is appealing, but there is a danger of throwing out the baby with the bathwater here in relation to career education, work-related learning and so on. It is also noticeable that while they are against instrumental higher education, they are happy to yoke adult education to the Green New Deal, which suggests a bit of a double standard.

I’d really like to send this back for them to have another go. I’m sure that they could do better!

If anyone from the Green Party fancies responding to this I’d be happy to feature a guest post.

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