Standing room only at Onward launch of a report on the Conservatives relationship with young people.
Far from Corbynistas, the polling shows the u40s back a more compassionate version of our free market economy - we're just really bad at engaging with them properly!!
As former Conservatives VC for Youth people often ask me what kind of thing I would do to appeal to younger people. I think number one is how we engage with people and needing more personality in our messaging, because I believe young people are instinctively more attracted to choice and freedom than ever before (things that are innately conservative and not socialist ideas) - but here's a policy idea:
Education is my cup of tea, and academic reforms have worked for many people, but not for all. Many have been sold short. Almost half of people who head off to university now and are promised better pay and career outcomes do not actually see any benefit, they just get debt.
I'd reform our Further and Higher Education systems so that we prioritise technical education and qualifications, and stop sending people to university to do poor quality courses with bad outcomes. I'd make those institutions that don't achieve good outcomes for students reform their offer. If your university can't show the benefit of your courses, you shouldn't be running them. We should push those unis to offer college level qualifications as well/instead, and have more work based learning to ensure the quality and the job prospects for those technical skills...
We'd end up with graduate level technical qualifications with business input & higher esteem like they have in Germany, and fewer young people disappointed and let down by a failing system. It would boost support and opportunities in FE and help colleges that are struggling. It can also offer genuine career opportunities for those who don't want to go to uni or whose talents lie outside of academia. We're failing thousands each year who are told they'll get a great graduate job when they won't.
What do you reckon?