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 JACK STOKES
FOR VPFE

I’m Jack Stokes, I have dedicated the past 4 years to FE students, both locally and nationally advancing and building the FE movement. As a passionate advocate for equitable access to education, I am committed to championing the rights and needs of further education students nationwide. With a track record of student leadership and advocacy, I bring extensive experience in amplifying diverse voices and driving tangible change within educational institutions. I have developed essential skills in public speaking, problem solving and communication. I’m ready to serve you as your Vice President for Further Education, leading with integrity, empathy, and determination.

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Track Record

Financial Security Campaign- Increased the Students' Union Operational Block Grant from £15,800 to £24,800 which is a £9,000 increase, ensuring a significantly increased Campaigning budget to fight for students.

 

Media and Outreach- Introduced and designed new SU Marketing tools including 2 pop-up-shops and 10 pop-up-banners- this is vital for the SU to engage and provide services to all students who find it difficult getting to Broadway. 

 

Sexual Health Campaign- Introduced HIV testing and Sexual Health Advice across all major campuses through partnership with the What?Centre providing regular drop-ins.

 

SU Leadership and Participation Reform- Created brand new Leadership roles that targeted the specific needs of students, centralised and consolidated the Liberation Networks and Introduced the SU Crew initiative as a volunteering space for students who want to be involved with the SU but don’t necessarily want to take on a Leadership role. 

 

Strategic Oversight- Introduced the Students' Union Strategic Plan, which focuses on the priorities of the Union for its development and implemented a Policy focused approach especially regarding Club/society management. 

 

Turn Up Campaign- Lobbied the college to introduce Opt-in Voter Registration to automatically register students when they enrol, simplifying the process, making it more accessible. Asked for registration links to be added to Induction surveys and democratic education to be included in PIP Sessions. 

 

My Present, Our Future Campaign- puting together a Local and National Student Manifesto, telling politicians want students need from the next Government. hosted a Big Conversation on Education and launched a What Students Think page on the Duldey SU Website. Jack also spoke on behalf of Further Education in the Houses of Parliament, Westminster. 

 

Politics Made Better Campaign- hosted the first Union Parliament since Covid which is an oppotunity for students to have a say in the direction of the Union, vote on motions and hold Leadership Members accountable. Did a major push on Leadership Elections introducing enhanced support and running a 'Vote for a Coke' election drive.

 

Zen Den Project- lobbied the college to re-start the project and ensured a suitable design was approved to create more social spaces for students.

 

Israel-Palestine Conflict- Lobbied for increased support for all students affected by this Humanitarian Crisis and demanded College took a pro-active approach to tackling Hate Crime. 

 

Network and Partnership Campaign- Building a stronger FE movement through networking and creating strong partnerships with other FE and HE Students' Unions.

My Manifesto

My name is Jack Stokes, I have dedicated 4 years to FE Students and advancing our often-overlooked movement, I have developed the essential skills needed for the position of Vice President for Further Education. I am running for this role because I believe in the collective power of FE, and I feel I have the knowledge, experience and dedication to champion this movement. I will work tirelessly to address the key issues FE Students face.

FE funding is cut year on year, the Government does not listen to us, and we are not a priority in their policies. Student support and mental health provision pretty much non-existent, our course options are reduced, and our campuses are not fit for purpose. FE Students having to choose between heating and eating whilst missing classes simply because they cannot afford extortionate travel costs. Our staff are underpaid, resulting to striking and we are haemorrhaging enrichment opportunities which help develop vital skills and build communities. We continue to face education reforms that priorities corporations, not our students or communities.

With so many problems facing FE Students, it’s important that we have a national platform, and I will take a pro-active approach to tackling the issues facing students and below are the key points I will prioritise if I’m elected:

 

No.1: Developing strong Students’ Unions.

I have a clear vision that every FE Students’ Union is fully funded, autonomous and supported. I believe that all Colleges and FE providers should legally have SU’s that can advocate for their students. These Unions are not just centres of social activity; they are hubs of leadership, advocacy and community engagement. They build tomorrow’s leaders, innovators, and changemakers. I believe all SU’s should have at least 1 paid Sabbatical Officer to lead it and high calibre staff that can support and empower students and have the necessary training and knowledge to really succeed in their role and understand the importance of student voice and leadership.

No.2: Tackling Cost-of-Living and Mental Health Crises.

I stand by our students during these incredibly difficult times. It's unacceptable that students are being forced to make choices between heating and eating, while poor mental health is skyrocketing faster than inflation and the reality of students missing out on education simply because they can't afford transport is an injustice. I believe we need to establish robust community-based mental health resources, bolstered by meaningful investment in counselling and NHS services that prioritise a holistic approach to tackling this issue. Additionally, providing free, reliable, and accessible public transport for all students is essential. The Government must expand and enhance the free college meal program to alleviate food insecurity among students.

No.3: Make NUS- FE Accessible.

I know that our National Union should be accessible for all its members and that includes FE, I will work to break down the barriers that limit FE participation in NUS Campaigns, events and democracy as it’s so important that we have our voices empowered and heard. There are 240 FE member Unions compared to 162 HE member Unions so why do Universities dominate NUS Conferences, campaigns and events? I will work to ensure that NUS activity is equitable- charging £25 for a Union with a budget of £500 and one of £500,000 is not the same. We must introduce accessible mechanisms for FE to participate in every NUS activity and we must break down the power imbalance that results with those with less money having a very different experience to those with money.

No.4: Education designed for students.

Currently education reforms do not put students first and prioritise companies, education should prioritise flexibility and choice, recognising that students have diverse talents, interests and career aspirations. Imposing restrictions on educational pathways such as cutting BTEC’s will be detrimental and will force students into routes that don’t align with their strengths and passions. Instead, the education system should embrace an open approach, offering multiple pathways. Restricting options will limit opportunities and hinder individual development. Education should empower students to choose the pathway that suits their aspirations, fostering a more inclusive and effective learning environment.

No.5: Democracy at 16.

I strongly believe that we must lower the voting age to 16 for all elections, lets empower our young people to be active citizens, to stand up for what they believe in, and to never underestimate the power of their voice. I believe if 16- and 17-year-olds can pay taxes they should be able to decide where that money is spent and who represents them, someone once said ‘I can marry my MP, I can sleep with my MP, but I can’t vote for my MP’. Voter registration must be made simpler, all colleges should be legally required to provide a Opt-in voter registration service during enrolment onto courses to make the process more accessible for our young people.

Here are my promises to you, I promise to serve you with passion, dedication and commitment, I promise to serve you with transparency and accountability, and I promise to be visible and present when you need me.

Its time we fixed our broken society, broken promises, and our broken education system.

Thank you for reading my Manifesto, if you have any questions, please email me at jack.stokes@dudlecol.ac.uk or follow my Instagram Account @jack4vpfe

Vote Jack Stokes for VPFE because...

JACK CAN DO!

Contact

Please feel free to contact me, with any questions you have

Insta: jack4vpfe

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