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Keir Starmer’s keynote speech aims to prepare school leavers for their future

·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA</span>
Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Keir Starmer will vow to make every school leaver “ready for work and ready for life” with a pledge to include practical skills such as pension planning and understanding credit scores in a revamped curriculum.

With his team desperate to refocus Labour’s conference on the concerns of the working families they believe will be crucial at the next election, Starmer will use his keynote speech this week to vow to give all pupils an “education fit for the future”.

It is set to include digital, work and “life skills”, as well as greater access to professional careers advisers. The plan would see the compulsory citizenship programme taught in schools widened to include practical issues such as applying for a mortgage and understanding employment and rental contracts.

He will also announce a “long-term aspiration” to ensure no young person leaves compulsory education without the qualifications they need to find a job, initially including a £250m fund for local authorities to reach the 65,000 16- and 17-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training. He will also vow to guarantee work experience and computer skills.

Labour wants to guarantee deprived children have access to a digital device at home, developed out of the scheme to equip them set up during the pandemic. It has vowed to pay for access to weekly extracurricular activities and after-school clubs for all by abolishing the charitable status of England’s private schools, which it says will raise £1.7bn.

Meanwhile, shadow business secretary Ed Miliband has been desperate to boost the party’s plan to tackle the climate crisis and will use a speech today to unveil a commitment to green the steel industry over the next decade. He will vow to use a £3bn fund to help the party become “the party of climate justice and economic justice together”.

He will accuse the government of failing to invest in the transition to net zero and weakening safeguards that protect UK steelmakers from being undercut by cheap steel imports. He will state that the party must avoid the “unjust transition” of the 1980s. “Britain needs a fairer economy,” he will say. “Britain needs a green industrial revolution. Britain needs a green new deal. This is the cause I came back to fight for. Our party cannot, will not, must not shirk the fight for climate justice. This then is our historic responsibility. To be the party of climate and economic justice together.”

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