Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Canterbury student selected as Green Party’s new National Spokesperson for Higher and Further Education

After a surge in the membership numbers of The Green Party, leading them to become the third largest UK party, a new slate of spokespersons have been appointed - including a Young Green member in Canterbury as the new Spokesperson for Higher and Further Education.

Dave Cocozza, a 24-year-old student at the University of Kent and member of the Canterbury Green Party, is aiming to be one of Canterbury’s first ever Green councillors, and was appointed as HE and FE spokesperson on the 15th of January 2015.

Mr Cocozza said:
“The Green Party is the only party that are serious about providing a better future for the younger generation, and ensuring we have a well-funded free education system to shape and build the next leaders of the world.
We want every young person to have access to a quality education, no matter what their family’s income. That’s why we’re opposed to the government’s privatisation and commercialisation of schools, colleges, and universities which is making access to a good education dependent on financial privilege.
By scrapping unfair and oppressive tuition fees, replacing them with student grants to meet living costs, reintroducing the Education Maintenance Allowance for 16 to 18 year olds, and ensuring University students are provided with quality, affordable accommodation will ensure that anyone and everyone who wants to access higher education actually can.
Twelve months ago I was a Labour supporter, but I wouldn’t trust Ed Miliband to organise a kick-about, let alone run our country. With the Lib Dem support sliding ever lower in the polls, and the rest all continuing to sing from the same hymn sheet, the only party that will really support the young voice and provide an education system that works for everyone is The Green Party.
Seeing my name alongside such inspiring Green politicians is, frankly, mind-blowing. A week ago I was just a mature student at Kent - now I have hundreds of political journalists following me on Twitter
I intend to do my utmost best to spread the Green message both locally and nationally. We have the chance to break into the Conservative stronghold of Canterbury, and I am so excited to be a part of this.”
With reports suggesting that the next few years will see a real decline in the number of engineering graduates, Mr Cocozza is also keen to promote the value of STEM teaching from a young age through to University onwards:
“Prof. Averil Macdonald’s ‘Not for people like me?’ report clearly shows a growing need to encourage take-up of STEM subjects across both genders, and we also need to do more to encourage young women to take them up. With estimates of a shortage of up to 40,000 graduates each year, we really need to look at changing the system for better.
The Green Party’s new slate of spokespeople, in line with party policy on ensuring equal representation, has a 50/50 gender split. The list includes its current MP, Caroline Lucas (Economics spokesperson) and South East MEP Keith Taylor (Environment and Climate Change spokesperson).
ENDS
NOTES TO EDITORS
  1. Full list of Green Party spokespeople available at http://greenparty.org.uk/people/green-party-spokespeople/(due to an increased demand in website use, there are intermittent problems accessing this page. We apologise for the issues and endeavour to resolve them soon)
  2. Mr Cocozza is available for comment on Further and Higher Education issues by email: dc420@kent.ac.uk or 07938440012
  3. Professor Averil Macdonald’s “Not for people like me?” report on under-representation in science, technology and engineering is available at http://www.wisecampaign.org.uk/education/not-for-people-like-me